ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Friday that there were 81,568 employees in Railways against the sanctioned strength of above 95,000.
Answering a question during the question hour, Parliamentary Secretary of Railways Mohammad Ashiq Hussain Shah rejected a perception that railway employees were performing duty in shifts. He said there were 6,390 personnel in Railways police, protecting its installations, key points, coaches, tracks and stations.
He said no proposal was under consideration to import new locomotives from China and no amount had been allocated for the purpose.
The Railways was not planning to shift its headquarters office from Lahore to Islamabad because there were three major organisational units already working there, he added.
The secretary said Railways’ control rooms were equipped with instruments to monitor trains’ movement and latest modern tracking systems were being installed at control offices in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Sukkur, Karachi and Quetta.
He said Railways had purchased 63 diesel-electric locomotives over the past five years. Fifty-eight such locomotives are being imported in complete built unit form at a cost of $116.860 million. He said that under the project signed with CSR Ziyang of China on Dec 7, 2012, 29 locomotives of 3000 HP and 29 of 2000 HP would be procured.
Mr Hussain said a contract agreement for procurement/manufacture of 69 diesel-electric locomotives had been signed with Dognfang Electric Corporation of China on Nov 8, 2001. These locomotives inducted in the system from 2003 to 2008 experienced inherent/technical defects during service and their overall performance remained unsatisfactory, he said, adding that the National Accountability Bureau was investing the matter and action would be taken in the light of its report.
He said the present government was taking a number of steps to reduce losses suffered by Railways. A reduction in fares has resulted in attracting extra passengers, thus increasing revenue and number of coaches. He said availability of locomotives in freight pool had been increased from eight to 25 locomotives on a daily basis that generated activities and made it possible for the government to start three to five freight trains from the Karachi port to upcountry.
Published in Dawn, Aug 9th, 2014