Federal Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Tuesday expressed fear to announce suspension of passengers trains following coronavirus spread in near future.
“We are discussing suspension of passenger trains with PM Imran Khan. And after getting PM Advise, Pakistan Railways would be able to announce suspension of passenger trains due to epidemic COVID-19,” he said while talking to a private news channel.
According to an official notification, the suspension will come into effect from 12 am today.
Earlier today, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had hinted at the shutdown of the national railways’ operations from Tuesday.
Apart from this, he said that a recommendation was made to the prime minister to give a package and continue salaries of the railways employees.
In the same vein, the federal minister had expressed dissatisfaction over him not being kept in loop about the shutdown of operations.
The railways ministry has shut down 44 trains from operating so far.
Sheikh Rashid said that at least 40 passenger trains were already suspended, however, 108 trains were still on tracks.
He said that Pakistan Railways earned from passengers to pay the salaries of railway staff and ,middle and poor class used railways as effective tool of transportation.
The minister said that the Sindh government did not inform prior to the Ministry of Railways about lock down, causing panic for passengers.
“It was dire need to continue freight trains as it was mandatory to shift crops, edibles and other items from one place to other parts of the country,” he said.
He said that Pakistan Railways earned Rs10 billion profit during last fiscal year and after payment of petroleum charges and procurement of engines, it successfully saved Rs. 4bn.