PR procuring 275 new locomotives & repairing old ones to provide better traveling facilities: NA told

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ISLAMABAD, (SANA): The National Assembly was informed Thursday that Pakistan Railways is procuring 275 new locomotives and repairing old ones to provide better traveling facilities to the passengers and control the losses. The National Assembly resumed its session in Islamabad Thursday with Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi in the chair.

Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Shaikh Nauman Islam told the House during question hour that Pakistan Railways has also involved private sector in different activities including rehabilitation of aging locomotives, development of dry ports and commercial management of the passenger trains to improve the functioning of this public service entity. Private sector has also been invited to operate freight trains on railways infrastructure. This will help Pakistan Railways to generate additional revenues.

The Parliamentary Secretary told the House that doubling of track between Karachi and Lahore will be completed by the end of this year, providing additional capacity to Pakistan Railways to run more trains. Installation of modern signaling system is in progress which will facilitate in smooth train operations.

Shaikh Nauman Islam said that Pakistan Railways generated revenue of 1.40 billion rupees from July to December last year. He said that train operations are currently being run within generated revenue as only economically viable trains are being plied.

Minister of State for Commerce Abbas Khan Afridi said the government has taken a series of steps to promote export of horticulture products including fruits and vegetables. Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company is focusing on developing cool chain infrastructure to reduce post harvest losses. Similarly, activities have been initiated for the capacity building of farmers to comply with the global food standards. He said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan is undertaking various export promotional activities through trade exhibitions and delegations for enhancing exports of fruits and vegetables.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar told the House in a written reply that the government has put in place a mechanism to help those who require evacuation from Syria. Pakistan Embassy in Beirut has been made responsible to extend facility in this regard after the temporary closure of our mission in Damascus.

To a question, Minister of State for Commerce Abbas Khan Afridi said the country has surplus reserves of sugar. This has helped bring down per kilogram price of the commodity from 95 to 52 rupees. The Economic Coordination Committee has allowed export of 1.2 million metric tons of sugar. State Bank of Pakistan has been mandated to monitor its export.

Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Shaikh Nauman Islam told the House that the new locomotives will be inducted into Pakistan Railways during the next six to eight months. He said this will help revive old routes of trains.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Palwasha Khan told the House that currently 20 to 30 Pakistanis are residing in Syria while all of our students there returned home after the start of conflict.

She said we have bilateral arrangements with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for release and exchange of prisoners. However, we face difficulties in release of our prisoners in India due to tension in relations. India has released 767 Pakistani prisoners mostly fishermen during the last five years.

Courtesy: Sana News

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