ISLAMABAD: In a bid to settle the dispute between the Ministry of Railways and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) over the creation of an import and export yard at Chaman Dry Port, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways on Tuesday invited all stakeholders to consent and report to each other on the execution of the project within two weeks.
The chief executive of Pakistan Railways told the committee that while the National Logistics Cell is undertaking it on behalf of the FBR, the project uses railway property. FBR declined to have the ministry on board while convening the programme, and the project faces deficiencies for that cause, the official said.
FBR and NLC, on the other hand, submitted the view to the Committee that the amount of the loan issued by the Asian Development Bank would expire if it had not been used in due course of time, and that FBR would have to pay a penalty and thus not obtain a railway ministry opposition certificate.
The tax authority suggested that after determining the mode of operation of the scheme, the FBR, NLC and the Railways should work together and discuss funding options from donors.
The committee meeting, chaired by MNA Muhammad Moeen Wattoo, unanimously agreed that within seven days, FBR should convene meetings with input from the ministries of rail, trade and interior, in addition to NLC, and draught widely approved decisions and report to the project implementation committee within two weeks. By approving the other ministries involved, the committee instructed the FBR to send a letter on the matter at the earliest.
The committee also took up the issue of unpaid bills or receivable sums from the various provincial government departments from the Quetta Railways Division and recommended them to either vacate the railway land or sign an agreement to pay the rent to the railways.
Similarly, private oil companies were either directed to pay the rent to the railways for the early use of their property or to vacate the land.
The committee also ordered the Quetta Railway Division to place all shopkeepers at Harnai station within one month under the tax net. All the service of goods and freight trains and even commuter trains must be initiated to facilitate the local residents, the committee added.
The Committee also instructed that, due to the availability of funds, the repair and rebuilding of the railway station on the main line should be carried out. The privatisation of commuter trains has also been initiated by Railways. The committee was of the opinion that the railways should closely track the contractors’ receivables well in time.