LAHORE, Nov 2: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will be meeting Pakistan Railways high-ups in Islamabad on Thursday (today) to ascertain the causes of the present state of affairs of the organisation.
“Railway high-ups will try to convince the prime minister to finalise the national transport policy to make the railways an efficient public sector organisation by treating it on a par with the road transport sector,” a senior officer at the railways headquarters in Lahore told this reporter on Wednesday.
Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, PR Board Chairman Javed Iqbal, General Manager (Operations) Saeed Akhtar and other senior officials would be apprising the prime minister of the acute shortage of locomotives that not only brought the freight service to almost a standstill but also badly affected passenger trains` operation, he said. “The PR even doesn`t have locomotives to operate its first trans-country container train between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey,” said the officer who sought anonymity.
Frequent failures of available locomotives have made it difficult to maintain credible operations and punctuality of all passenger and freight trains, resulting in daily protests by commuters. “Of the out-of-order locomotives, 46 require repairs on a small scale and will be made operational as soon as Rs600 million allocated for the purpose are received by the organisation. Locomotives in need of overhaul or repairs on a large scale require Rs50 million each,” said the officer.