ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Railways on Friday informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Railways that six of the 10 newly-launched passenger trains were running in losses.
Presenting a report on the benefit-cost ratio of the new passenger trains, a senior official of the railways ministry informed the committee that new trains had been introduced on certain sections as per demand in order to protect assets of railways and facilitate the general public at large by connecting various destinations with each other utilising existing infrastructure, rolling stock, crew and employees.
The Mianwali railcar service between Rawalpindi and Kundian via Mianwali is among the six trains running in losses. Others are: Shah Latif Express from Dhabeji to Mirpurkhas via Jung Shahi, Jhimpir, Kotri, Hyderabad, Tando Adam and Tando Allahyar, Rohri passenger train, Moenjadaro Express, Faisalabad non-stop train and Rawalpindi Express.
Ten passenger trains were started in the first 100 days of PTI govt
Ten trains were launched by the Pakistan Railways across the country in the first 100 days of the PTI government, and Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid is determined to add 10 more passenger trains this year.
Former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, who is a member of the standing committee, called for carrying out feasibility studies before launching the new passenger trains.
He demanded that feasibility reports of all passenger trains should be submitted to the committee.
Mr Rafique asked Mr Rashid to submit details of the feasibility reports of the new trains, and coaches used in these trains. As a matter of standard procedure, he said, 15 per cent of coaches were kept in reserve, whereas currently there was not a single coach available in spare.
The ministry official stated that the new trains were running successfully on an average of 84.5 per cent occupancy. The existing railway stock had been used for these trains, he said.
The director general (technical) of the railways ministry briefed the committee on the fiscal situation of the Pakistan Railways for the first eight months of the present government.
He said the Pakistan Railways spent Rs72 billion against the earnings of Rs43bn.
He said the Pakistan Railways earned Rs25,035.711 million during the fiscal year 2018-19 mainly from passenger trains in comparison to Rs23,098.618m during the fiscal year 2017-18, registering an increase of Rs1937.093m.
Despite the increase in expenditures on account of payment amounting to Rs1.207bn, pension (Rs0.468bn) and fuel (Rs2.729bn), the deficit of the Pakistan Railways has gone down by Rs0.059bn.
Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid informed the committee that oil prices had gone up in the international market, putting additional financial burden on the Pakistan Railways. However, he said, railway fares had not been increased, but fares of AC classes were likely to be increased after Eidul Fitr. He said the private sector had shown interest in acquiring passenger trains. The passenger trains’ business was profitable, while the Pakistan Railways was facing problems in freight business, the committee was told.
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019