LAHORE: Of the several freight trains that were supposed to leave Karachi for upcountry destinations on Sunday, only one did so amid a fuel crisis.
The problem began on Saturday when a cheque for Rs700 million issued by Pakistan Railways to Pakistan State Oil was not honoured. The PSO subsequently stopped the supply of fuel to Railways.
“Hopefully the cheque will be cashed by Monday noon and the fuel supply will be resumed by the evening,” a senior officer at the Railways headquarters in Lahore told Dawn.
“Only one freight train left for Muzaffargarh on Sunday. On an average, eight freight trains leave the Sindh capital for various upcountry destinations daily,” he said.
“Some 30 freight trains had to be stationed in yards near major railway stations across the country. We do not have funds for payment to the PSO for procuring high-speed diesel and TBN-13 to keep all the freight trains running,” said the officer of the PR’s commercial branch.
“Four freight trains each are stationed at Sukkur, Khanewal and Lalamusa, three each at Karachi and Samasatta, two at Multan and 10 at Lahore,” he said, adding that some 4,085 wagons loaded with goods were waiting for departure to upcountry destinations because of shortage of fuel and locomotives.
Answering a question, the officer said the Railways had not received a single penny from the Rs11.1 billion package recently approved by the cabinet.
“A summary will be sent to the finance ministry, the Central Development Working Party, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, etc., and there will be cuts and changes… . All this will take some time,” he added.