LAHORE – Amid the Railways Minister’s tall claims, made on Saturday, that the public utility had started it’s journey towards revival, the authorities aware of the department’s ground situation have decided to close Quetta Express. Only 76 trains are operational now. The number of those closed down, after the Saturday’s decision, has reached 128, sources have told TheNation.
Quetta Express was considered a very important mode of transportation between Peshawar and Quetta. After its closure, only two trains are left at the Quetta station to pick the passengers for other destinations, an official of the department told this scriber. Another officer, however, said that Quetta Express has been closed temporarily due to shortages of locomotives and will be restored as soon as engines are made available. The Railways had already shut down Abasin Express and Mehran Express from the Blochistan’s capital.
Meanwhile, passengers at various stations across the country staged protest demonstrations against long train delay. Reportedly, Tezgam Express and Night Coach were late for five hours at Karachi station while the passengers at Lahore station complained that almost all the trains were late for two to three hours.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the Railways Executive Committee was held at the Railways Headquarters in Lahore on Saturday. It discussed the affairs of the department. Sources said that the participants discussed the situation the utility has recently been passing through. It was also learnt that President Asif Ali Zardari has once again called a high-level meeting with Railways bigwigs on Monday next. The Minister, Secretary Railways and General Manager (Operations) would participate in it.
The ongoing plans of restructuring of the department and public private partnership would be discussed in the session.
APP ADDED: Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said on Saturday that the government had approved Rs6.5 billion for Railways restoration. The money, he said, would be received from banks as loan.
Talking to electronic media, the minister said the government had also approved Rs5 billion for the rehabilitation of 150 locomotives while Rs19 billion was allocated for the purchase of 50 new locomotives. Commenting on a contempt of court case against
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, he said the judiciary was respectable and parliament was the mother of all institutions and supreme. He informed the media that a new track of about 12 km from Chaman to Spin Boldik had also been approved.