RAWALPINDI:- Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Tuesday said that all out efforts are being made to improve performance and efficiency of Pakistan Railways (PR) and make it a profitable organization.
Talking to APP he said nine locomotives, two Chinese, four Japanese and three American that were not in running condition, have been locally repaired and overhauled at Central Diesel Locomotive (CDL) workshop at a cost of Rs 31 million by utilizing Pakistan Railways own resources and manpower.
Pakistan Railways had recently overhauled 16 locomotives and eight to ten more will be repaired in near future.
The minister said a locomotive comprises 12000 parts and local and imported spare parts are used to overhauling. At present, Pakistan Railways have total 156 locomotives in running condition but Indian Railways have 8300 locomotives then how one can compare Indian Railways with Pakistan Railways.
He further informed that these nine locomotives would be used to run freight trains.
The railways have floated tenders for purchase of 150 new locomotives while tenders for 75 more engines will also be offered shortly, he added.
To a question, he said work on dualization of Lodhran-Sahiwal track has been completed and work is continued on dualization of Raiwind-Sahiwal section.
The minister said completion of this project would help significantly reduce traveling time between Lahore and Karachi.
He further informed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Ms Four Brothers (pvt) limited to run a Business Train on daily basis from Lahore to Karachi.
To another question the Minister said most of the railway fleet including passenger coaches, freight wagons and locomotives are outdated and Pakistan Railways need massive funding for restructuring.
Pakistan Railways would soon get Rs. 6.1 billion loan from banks to help steer it out of prevailing financial crunch, he added.
The minister said last year was very difficult Railways but now things are improving and this year Railways affairs would notice positive changes.
Bilour said had the bailout package been released on time, the situation would have been much better. If the government has ensured timely materialization of Rs 11.5 billion package, the crisis could have avoided.
He informed there are total 85,000 employees of Pakistan Railways with over 140,000 pensioners.
He dispelled the charges of running a transport company by certain quarters and said, “Neither he nor any of his family members is running a transport company.”
Mentioning to railways network in other countries as running in deficit, Bilour said even Indian railways received $ 11 billion by the government despite running in profit. “Therefore, we will have to invest in Railways to make it an efficient and vibrant organization.”
To another question, he said, the government would complete its constitutional term and now democracy cannot be derailed.