ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Railways is suffering a daily loss of Rs160 million due to disruption caused by the floods to its operation but it did not borrow any money from the federal government, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways was informed on Wednesday.

Pakistan Railways Chairman Zafar Zaman Ranjha informed the meeting that it had been the most disastrous flood his organisation had ever faced. The committee was informed that due to poor drainage system in several cities and villages, floodwaters had accumulated at railway stations.

Most committee members criticised the Pakistan Railways’ management for having made no contingency plans to meet any emergency situation like the one witnessed by the Railways due to floods.

Officials asked to ensure tracks are not damaged by floodwaters in future

One member said the PR officials should investigate why the railway tracks were submerged by the floodwaters and how to avoid such a situation in future. They must plan and take measures so that floodwaters in future smoothly pass through the tracks without damaging them, he said.

Members of the committee suggested construction of more bridges and crossings for easy flow of water below the railway tracks.

The chairman of the committee, Muhammad Moeen Wattoo, said that floods had put a heavy financial burden on the Pakistan Railways which was already facing losses in its operations. A member of the committee was of the view that the country would not be able to sustain if such a calamity hit it again. Another member said the nation was not seen united during the floods and, as a result, the government had to seek help from the international community.

The committee expressed dismay over the absence of Railways Minister Saad Rafique from the meeting.

The chairman informed the committee that PR officials in Grades 17 to 22 had decided not to claim travel and dearness allowances anymore.

An amount of Rs35.5 million will be given to porters, the chairman said.

He said the PR had 52,000 employees at present and it had the capacity of 33,000 more, but it could afford the burden of pensions. All future appointments in Pakistan Railways would be made on the basis of contracts, he said.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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