LAHORE: Pakistan Railways on Thursday entered into an agreement with a private company to operate a Business Train between Lahore and Karachi under private-public partnership first time in the history of Pakistan Railways.
Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour attended the signing of joint venture ceremony at Railways Headquarters as chief guest and expressed hope about the good future of the public utility.According to the briefing the passenger train between the capitals of Punjab and Sindh would become operational within four months and the international facilities would also be introduced for the passengers who would travel by the Business Train.
According to the agreement, Four Brothers International (Pvt.) Limited would invest Rs 225.786 million in the joint venture. As per the agreement the Company would pay Rs 1.573 million per single journey and Rs 1.148 billion per annum to Pakistan Railways at 88 per cent of the carrying capacity of the Business Train. The media was informed that the train would cover the distance between Lahore and Karachi in 18 hours while the time limit would later be reduced to 15 hours after the completion of repair work on track and signals.
Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, speaking on the occasion, congratulated the rail management and the private company representatives for entering into a successful agreement which according to him would prove better both in the interest of the company and the Railways. He was hopeful that now more people from private side wwould join hands with the Railways. Bilour said that the Railways would also outsource the Shalimar Express in next couple of months.
“Now, you would see the improvement in the Pakistan Railways within six months,” he said while answering a question.
To anther question, he said the government would complete its tenure and that the talks about the government’s departure were fake. Criticising the former Railways Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, Bilour regretted that when Sheikh Rasheed was the part of Musharraf’ cabinet, he had not added locomotives for uplifting the Railways’ performance. If Sheikh Rasheed had added 200 locomotives in the railways’ system then there would be different situation, Bilour said.According to the briefing by the Company representatives, the train would consist of nine AC Lower coaches, two power and one luggage vans and a dining car. The company would be responsible for the provision of facilities to passengers on board of the express train. – Nation