Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Wednesday said that the Railways Department has set a target of profit margin of Rs 10 billion for financial year 2018-2019. Talking to media at the Rawalpindi Railway Hospital, Sheikh Rasheed vowed that “the task given to me by Prime Minister Imran Khan as focal person of Leh Expressway Project will be completed soon”. He said that a new train would be started from Karachi to Peshawar that will cover the distance of 1,760 kilometres in eight hours at the speed of 160km per hour. Sheikh Rasheed linked the benefits of the construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the development of railway department. The minister said that the CPEC project is the backbone of the economy and revolutionary changes would be carried out in the rehabilitation of railways with the support of China. Criticising the previous governments spending of gigantic sum on the construction of roads, he said there was need to improve the condition of tracks which is in dilapidated condition. Sheikh Rasheed informed that there are 2,000 railway crossings without gates and in limited resources, it has become difficult for railways to construct it. He urged the people not to play cricket on railway tracks as it leads to accidents. Sheikh Rasheed said that the number of freight trains would be increased as it will increase the profit of Railways. He announced that a new train would be added to the Green Line Service while work now also in progress for starting two new trains from Quetta to Karachi. He said that earlier I had asked the residents residing along Nullah Leh not to sell their properties as now they are going to become millionaires with the construction of expressway. He said that the previous rulers destroyed the economy of the country, adding that 2019 would be the year of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s success. The minister renewed his pledge that corruption in railways would not be tolerated at any level. Earlier, the minister planted a sapling in the lawn of the Railway hospital under the ongoing Plant for Pakistan drive. The Pakistan Railways has increased train fare for the second time by up to 19 percent after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was voted into power. A notification issued by railways said that the new rates will be enforced from tomorrow (Friday). The government has approved 12 percent increase in the fare of Karachi Express, Business Express, Shalimar and Shah Hussain Express, while 13 percent on Khyber Mail, Awam Express and Allama Iqbal Express. The ticket price of all classes of Sukkur Express will go up by 15 percent, while Pakistan Express’ fare has surged by a 19 percent, said the notification. An increase of as many as Rs 540 of Green Line Train from Karachi to Islamabad has been announced under the new price schedule. The development comes a day after Sheikh Rasheed announced to revise the fares of as many as 40 trains following the rupee devaluation against the United States dollar. Earlier this year, Sheikh Rasheed had also announced to contribute Rs 100 million annually as funds for the construction of dams by raising the rail fares. “Fares have been raised for the sole purpose of donating Rs 100 million yearly to the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund,” said the minister. On a Rs 100 ticket, the Ministry will charge Re 1 extra and Rs 2 on more than Rs 100 ticket. For air-conditioned sleeper coaches, the fare will be increased up to Rs 10.” Published in Daily Times, December 6th 2018.