The Pakistan Railways has got the plans of selling commercial plots costing billions of rupees to overcome the deficit being faced by the organization. It is planning to sell as many as ten commercial plots situated in the cities of Lahore and Karachi.
Currently, the Railway’s deficit is forty billion rupees while the department is also under the debt of twenty-five billion rupees, as informed by an official of the Ministry of Railways to local media.
It was informed that the Minister of Railways has instructed the Railways Real Estate Development Company (REDIMCO) to form a master plan for selling the commercial land of the organization on a priority basis.
As per sources, the Pakistan Railway assets would be used via the public-private joint ventures. The Divisional Superintendents of all the cities including Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta have been appointed as the focal persons in this matter.
The focal persons would be coordinating with the Board of Revenues and the Chief Secretaries in the related provinces for the early transfer of land to the department as the major share is not lawfully in the name of Pakistan Railways.
As per a document of land section of the department, the railway’s department owns more than 105,000 acres of land. The administration of Railways has nominated four divisional superintendents as focal persons to completely transfer the land of railways to it.
63,500 acres of land out of the 168,000 acres have already been transferred on the name of Railways.
The land distribution in acres of the railways land is such that out of the total land area 125,000 acre is currently under operation of Pakistan Railways, while the 19,234 acres land has been fixed for future usage and 12,568 have been granted on lease while 4,010 acres land is under the control of land mafia and Katchi Abadies, 413 acre is the commercial land which has got worth of billion and 4,535 acres land is for agriculture.
The provincial land distribution of Pakistan Railways is as follows:
- Punjab—more than 48,000 acres
- Sindh—34,300 acres
- Balochistan—20,000 acres
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—3,279 acres
As per sources, the Ministry of Railways had asked the Cabinet Division to lease out more than 20,000 acres of the land of Pakistan Railways which is currently in the hold of the department and is not being used.
In regard to the losses being encountered by the department, the sources said that the main reason for it is that no improvement is being made in the freight sector for the last many years.
They also informed about the initiation of One-Window Operations for the freight handling to facilitate the people, as it is the top priority of the present government to enhance the revenue of the railways and to reduce its deficit.