Economics & Business Pak Affairs

Talks underway to link Gwadar with rest of country: NA told

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that talks are being continued with China for linking Gwadar with rest of the country by railway network. Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour informed the House during question hour that Gwadar would also be linked with China through Havelian and Khunjerab Pass.

Replying to supplementary he said no new passenger train would be launched and already several of them have been closed to spare locomotives for freight purposes. He said only those trains have been closed which were running on eighty percent loss. He said presently railway has 520 locomotives out of which only 220 are operational. He said five billion rupees are needed to carry out repair of faulty locomotives and hoped that the amount would be released this month.

He said railways needs thirty to forty locomotives annually but this aspect remained neglected over the years. Answering a question Federal Minister for Railways said that the Railway has suffered losses worth 7.7 billion rupees during recent floods. It included losses worth 6.7 billion rupees to infrastructure, 362 million rupees on account of suspension of passenger services and 605 million rupees on account of suspension of freight train services.

Replying to questions on behalf of Minister for Livestock and Dairy Development, Syed Khurshid Shah said the country earns one point three billion dollars annually through export of livestock and meat.

He said currently there are about 180 million cattle heads in the country and their growth is three point eight percent. He said import of live animals and halal meat is allowed in order to improve supply situation in the country. Similarly duty-free import of dairy and meat processing machinery is encouraged for establishment of value added industry in livestock sector. In response to a question that what steps the government are taking to prevent selling of dead animals meat, the Minister urged the provincial governments to take serious notice of such complaints.-SANA

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