LAHORE: A mega operation against financially corrupt officials has been launched in the Pakistan Railways, that has been suffering billions of rupees deficit each year since long and the minister, Azam Khan Swati, has also deployed ‘volunteers’ to gather information about the ‘black sheep’ in the organisation, besides targeting those facing inquiries, to bring them to task.
“I have spread volunteers in different cities to help me in unearthing and controlling corruption. You will see that those involved in corrupt practices will be shown the door in near future. Let’s see what I do,” Mr Swati told on Sunday.
“While talking to you, I received various [types of] information related to encroachment on the PR’s land, corruption etc. I have ordered probes into such matters, directing the inquiry officers to adopt a policy of zero-tolerance on corruption,” he said.
Talking about the malpractices in the department, he said various chunks of commercial land from Sakrand (Sindh) abandoned railway track (from Zero Point Chowk to Bilawal Bhutto Chowk), had been illegally occupied where a petrol pump was being constructed, besides residential buildings, on a 3km-long area, by property dealers in connivance with the officials and builders.
“Different builders have included the railway land in their plotting area, besides encroaching upon some of the lines’ portion, to approach a road,” he regretted, adding that a probe had been launched into the mega scam, involving corruption of billions of rupees. “A probe has been launched against the concerned assistant executive engineer, inspector of works and others,” he added.
Mr Swati said an inquiry had also been ordered into illegal occupation of 45-kanal railway land by powerful land mafia in Lakki Marwat (opposite the Bannu Sugar Mill, Serai Naurang tehsil) that was leased in 2010 for cultivation purpose. “Whosoever is found involved, will be taken to task,” he warned.
He also mentioned some railway quarters rented out illegally in Jadid Abadi (Mama Khel), along Bannu Dikhan GT Road, that could be used by terrorists as foxholes to target a nearby school.
Mr Swati said he had also received some “evidence of misuse of powers” against a senior PR official after which his service has been placed under suspension and a probe was launched to find facts. “Let’s wait for some time as I will sack all those found involved in corruption,” he pledged.
The minister said he was making efforts to run the railways under an effective, viable and sustainable business plan. “I think it is the only way forward to save this department from sinking further,” Swati said.