LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways (PR) is set to launch a VVIP train — Jinnah Express — from Lahore to Karachi on March 30 after Prime Minister Imran Khan confirmed that he would inaugurate it.
Similarly, the PR also plans to launch another VVIP train — Sir Syed Express — from Lahore to Karachi by next month.
“The premier has given us a time for March 22 to inaugurate Jinnah Express. He [the PM] will also give an honorarium of Rs3,000 each to all workers working round the clock in manufacturing of new bogies/coaches for the Jinnah and Sir Syed Express trains,” Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid told workers after he inspected newly manufactured coaches/bogies for the upcoming VVIP trains here at the PR Mughalpura workshop on Saturday.
As the minister delivered his speech on the occasion, the workers kept raising slogans demanding that their services be regularised. Later, they gathered around the official vehicle of the minister and sought confirmation of their service.
However, the minister was reported to have assured the protesting workers of “doing something for them”.
“The PR has generated 10,000 new jobs and the vacancies will be filled on merit. But we have allocated a quota for the temporary workers /daily wagers in these jobs,” he added. He said the PR had decided to award contract of Sir Syed Express Train to a five-star hotel chain.
The minister said the railways, during the last regime, wasted Rs2 billion on renovation of various stations that even didn’t earn Rs6,000.
“We will end corruption under the leadership of PM Imran Khan,” he said.
Earlier, he told the media at 8-Club after meeting premier Khan that he had given a briefing to the prime minister about his recent visit to Iran.
“I told him about my meeting with the Iranian president and bilateral cooperation in railways. The PM will talk to the Iranian president by telephone soon,” he said.
He said besides Iran, Turkey would also cooperate in improving the PR.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2019