THE government, it seems, is slowly realising the importance of reviving the collapsing Pakistan Railways to provide better, decent travel facilities. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved different railway projects costing Rs287bn. A major chunk of the funds — Rs246bn — will be spent on reviving the Karachi Circular Railway. KCR’s revival was actually planned in 2006, but the lack of funds delayed its implementation. Now that Japan has agreed to lend money, its completion will help unclog the city’s roads. The remaining funds will be used for procuring locomotives, high-capacity bogies and high-speed power vans as well as for repairing the existing 150 diesel engines and the mechanisation of the track maintenance pilot project.

All these projects are being executed after a lag of four years, not least because of financial constraints. The railway has been in dire straits for several years now. Only 76 locomotives out of 520 are in operational condition for want of repair and maintenance. The number of passenger trains being run today has been cut to just 65-70 from 204. Freight services have virtually been shut down. Several factors ranging from corruption to overstaffing to inefficient management are to blame for the collapse of the service. However, the lack of funds in recent years is mainly responsible for the decrease in PR operations. It was after much delay that the government arranged a loan of Rs6bn a few months back for the department to purchase new coaches, make a few locomotives operational and pay off part of the department’s overdraft of Rs42bn to prevent a complete shutdown. While the provision of the new funds should help the railways pull back from the brink, the government needs to implement a long-term strategy for its revival by involving private investors capable of running it on modern business lines.

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Comments (10)

ROHIT PANDEY
August 19, 2012 10:50 pm
Laloo Prasad Yadav is an ideal choice to head the Pakistan Railways.No kidding.He turned around India Railways from a loss making one to one which was netting huge profits.He is the former Minister for Railways Government of India. He was called to lecture in Harvard School of Business!
Asad Raza
August 20, 2012 5:13 am
All these things can be improved only if an elected government is allowed to work peacefully. If the elected representatives have to appear before court every now and then for any nasty issue, no government can work. Right from Khwaja Nazimuddin to this day, we witness the same techniques (by establishment) to paralyze and dislodge political government.
Iftikhar Husain
August 20, 2012 11:41 am
The Pakistan Railway needs somebody visionary to plan and revive the institution to start working again.
Asif Ansari
August 24, 2012 1:35 am
Yes, Positive thinking is the need of time, Positive thinking save the Pakistan.
aamirjawed2008
August 20, 2012 4:48 am
I hope Pakistan Railways gains stability and enable us to travel easily and safely .
Pradeep
August 20, 2012 3:54 pm
Privatization is the only hope.
Sajjad Ali Gopang
August 21, 2012 6:52 pm
Finish the desease of Corruption, Everything will be all right
Asif Ansari
August 21, 2012 7:36 pm
Pakistan railway is nearest to death, its condition as we see. Funds for railway is a good sign, KCR's project must completed in several years ago but the bureaucratic chunks delayed it. This project directly is affecting the people of Karachi, In Karachi traffic condition is too worse against all of the Pakisan. It is the big question here, Executive committee set 287 billion rupees for Pakistan Railway for its maintenanec and purchasing, the funds use in the right direction or same practice will do as we saw here. Seen the Indian Railway, it went into loss, but the railway minister Lalo Parsad Yeadave maked it profit-full department in the history of India, these all done by only one minister and same our Pakistani railway minister, what he is doing? Shameful!
Assad Razzaque
August 22, 2012 4:24 pm
Pakistan Railway is a big question mark for all of us, but if we see it through an other way we all know this is a department which we really need. Pakistan Railway is a department of Pakistan which is politicize by all governments, and it is a true example of a department which employees demanding it by themselves with full of there strengthen and just image the potential of the department it is still present, this shows it need for people of Pakistan, so in my opinion there should be some sincere and honest body in the Pakistan who work to realize the employees of Pakistan Railway that this is there own department and all the destruction of Pakistan Railway will destruction their own lives. Its time to think positive for the Positive future of our beloved nation Pakistan, and its all department like Pakistan Railway.
BNS
August 23, 2012 12:27 am
I always fail to understand why 1. PR wants to buy new locomotives if its old locomotives can be repaired? 2. PR need to import bogies when it has a complete carriage manufacturing facility? 3. PR did not publish any plans as to how do THEY suggest to get back on track?
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