Government takes steps to improve Pakistan Railways’ performance

ISLAMABAD: The present government has taken a number of steps to resolve the financial issues of Pakistan Railways, besides improving its performance. According to the Economic Survey released by the Finance Ministry here Monday, in resolving the severe financial and operational crisis, an amount of Rs 31 billion has been allocated as a grant to Pakistan Railways (PR) for salary and pension expenditures. Monthly instalments are being released in this regard. The government has also allocated Rs 23 billion in PSDP for financial year 2012-13. Private Sector participation is the focus moving forward under which private companies would acquire locomotives on lease while they pay track access charges to Pakistan Railway. Board of Directors of PR has been constituted for restructuring Pakistan Railways. Repair and addition of locomotives is the foremost priority for increased revenue generation and restoration of rail services. Freight operations is another priority area. Under the plan outsourcing of maintenance to reduce cost is being pursued. Credit line of PR from Pakistan State Oil has been enhanced to ensure smooth supply. The strategy recommends disintegration of PR into two companies, viz. Pakistan Railways Infrastructure, Management and Operations Company (PRIMO) and Pakistan Railway Ancillary Services Company (PRASC) to make it a viable entity. GoP is supporting PR by financing revenue-expenditure gap and the development budget. The financial and operational performance of Pakistan Railway has been deteriorated since last many years. Passenger traffic since 2007-08, has declined from 230 trains per day to 92 trains per day, while the number of freight trains has drastically went down from 96 per day to just one per day. Presently out of 515 only 100 locomotives are operational. 

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