ISLAMABAD - The Monitoring and Implementation Committee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is annoyed at the out-way-allotment of more than one plots to 184 officers of Pakistan Railways.

The Monitoring and Implementation Committee of PAC met here yesterday under the chair of Rana Afzaal Hussain to take up the audit objections of Ministries of Railways and Communications for financial year 1996-97.

Audit department presented the irregularities in the audit of Ministry of Railways and informed the committee members that some 184 officers of Grade 17 and above were allocated 453 plots and each officer had secured more than one plot setting aside the departmental rules.

The committee members expressed serious concerns over it and Afzaal Hussain said some of the officers who were out of the way allocated more than one plots had died and how the ministry would recover price of these plots.

Secretary Ministry of Railways Ms Perveen Aga said that out of these 184 officers some 86 had voluntarily deposited the price of plots allotted to them, from another 40 the department had recovered money along with fine through National Accountability Bureau while the remaining 49 officers had challenged the matter in the court of law and the cases of these persons were awaiting adjudication from the courts.

To another query of the committee Secretary Railways informed that the ministry had constituted a committee in March this year to ascertain the actual land owned by the Railways across the country and they would complete the exercise in 18 months.

To another query she said that except Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa no province in the country was willing to handover Railways land in their possession back to the department.

The committee again admonished the Secretary Railways for not having the record of spending of Rs. 2 billion tiles at Lahore Railways Station, adding that just lodging of FIR of missing record was not sufficient and directed her to present a detailed report on the matter within one month time.

Secretary Railways informed the committee that to improve the working of Pakistan Railways a Railways Board was constituted and presented the progress of the department over the past two years wherein all the targets set by the government were successfully met.

She informed that revenue target for the last year was fixed at Rs28 billion while the department had earned Rs31.9 billion. She pointed out shortage of staff in the department informed the committee that the current staff requirement is 96 thousand while at present they have a total strength of 78 thousand employees working in various capacities. She said that now they have secured the permission of appointing some 1400 people in various slots and hopefully things would improve for better.

The committee directed the officials of Ministry of Communications to get all their audit paras verified from the audit department and present it in the committee in next sitting.