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‘Parents of children playing at railway tracks to face action’

LAHORE: “Parents of children playing cricket at the railway tracks will be taken into custody”, warned Federal Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rasheed on Saturday.

Rasheed said schools and small factories built near railway tracks will be closed, “action will continue against people who are occupying railways’ land”, said the railways minister.

Briefing the media after chairing meeting of the department at Railways’ headquarters in Lahore today, Rasheed announced to reduce railway fares of economy class by 30 percent.

Railways’ revenue has increased by Rs1billion in first 50 days of the newly elected government, claimed the minister.

Taking former railways’ minister to task, Sheikh Rasheed said engines of worth Rs 220 million were bought for Rs 420 million, adding that he was planning to carry out audit into the matter.

About recruitments in the department, the railways minister said that not a single person will be appointed against the merit.

“I don’t have right to regularize contract employees of the department, only Prime Minister Khan can take decision in this regard”, clarified the minister.

While comparing Shehbaz Sharif with elder Sharif, the minister said Shehbaz embezzled more funds as compared to his brother, the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan Railways on October 18, said that they are ready utilize 10913 acres barren land across the country by executing various projects under public private partnership to earn more revenue for the department.

“The department owns 1,67,690 acres land all over the country, out of which 90326 in Punjab, 39428 in Sindh, 28228 in Balochistan and 9708 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told a state run wire service.

Regarding the barren land, he said that Pakistan Railways has 8424 acres barren land in Punjab, 1346 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 263 in Sindh and 880 in Balochistan.

He said that Pakistan Railways had leased out 15172 acres land for various purposes across the country and around 3330 acres land was under encroachments of different government departments and individual.

Pakistan Railways was using 1086 acres land for Railway Housing Societies in four provinces and 806 acres land was under the utilization of regular and non-regular Katchi Abadies, he added.

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