SOPs in trains, railway stations to be implemented strictly: Rasheed

Bureau Report

LAHORE :Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said on Saturday that no comprise would be made on the violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) against coronavirus in trains and at railway stations. Addressing a press conference here at Pakistan Railways headquarters, he said that all divisional superintendents had been directed that implementation on SOPs was their responsibility. He said the PR was reviewing trains schedule to facilitate more citizens across the country, adding already operating trains were being allowed to make stopover at 13 more railway stations where the number of rail passengers was much more. He announced to attach one more passenger coach with each train of 40 trains being operated by the railways and said that no train would be allowed to run with less than 17 coaches to facilitate more passengers by keeping committed occupancy of 60 per cent. He said that earlier, it was decided to restore 10 more trains but after observing the COVID-19 situation in the country, the decision was postponed for a month. The minister also announced to open all current reservation and booking offices across the country and said the decision was taken after demand by rail passengers who were unable to use online system of booking. He said that all divisional superintendents had been directed to ensure maximum recovery of tickets and collection of revenue. To a question, the minister said that earlier, the railways had reduced fare by 10 per cent and now again the PR was going to reduce its fare by 10 per cent due to decrease in fuel prices . Talking about the politics, he criticised the opposition and said that there was no role of opposition in the politics of the country as the leadership of opposition was struggling to protect their corruption and facing cases in the National Accountability Bureau ( NAB) Courts. He reiterated that Prime Minister Imran was committed not spare any looter of national exchequer, and expressed his hope that soon the forensic report of the flour scam would be presented to the cabinet meeting. To a question, he said the government would follow the verdict of the Supreme Court on Pakistan Steel Mills, adding that no decision had yet been made to sack any employee of Steel Mills. To another question, he said that India should avoid any misadventure,otherwise, there would be no option for Pakistan to give a befittingresponse, which would be the last war.Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid said enduring resolution of the issue of wheat and sugar was priority of Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Saturday. Sheikh Rasheed said those who were responsible of the sugar crisis could not escape from punishment. He expressed these views while addressing a press conference. In response to a question, he said India would receive a befitting response in case of resorting to any aggression against Pakistan.