Following the energy’s sector lead by lending a hand across the border, Indian Railways is considering the proposal to provide 50 diesel locomotives on hire to Pakistan.
Indian Railways is likely to give at an approximate rate of Rs1,500 per hour per locomotive of 3,000 HP to Pakistan for leasing purpose as per the plan, reported Press Trust of India on Wednesday.
Besides leasing out, India will also provide training facilities for Pakistan railwaymen to run Indian locomotives.
In a similar effort to strengthen ties between the two old foes, India offered Pakistan 5,000MW electricity to meet its energy requirements on an urgent basis which could be transmitted through Punjab within months.
“The Ministry of External Affairs has already approved the proposal and now the modalities of supplying locomotives are being worked,” said a senior railway ministry official.
“If the supply takes place, it will be for the first time that Indian Railways will come to the aid of Pakistan,” the official said.
Though railways regularly supply locomotives to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mozambique, Tanzania and Ghana, it will be for the first time that railways will supply locomotives to Pakistan, said the official. “Railways supply about 10 locomotives on an average in a year. Generally, we sell locos on outright purchase basis to other countries but this will be for the first time that we are considering to give it on hiring basis because Pakistan Railways is preferring leasing to buying,” said the official.
Currently, railways manufacture about 250 diesel locomotives in a year. With the continuous growth in traffic volume, there is a demand for the production of more locomotives.
The three-member team of the Pakistan Railways Advisory and Consultancy Services Limited (PRACS) had earlier held preliminary discussions with the officials of Railway Infrastructure, Technical and Economic Services (RITES).
RITES have received request from Pakistan Railways regarding the supply of locomotives from India. “A formal agreement will be signed between RITES and PRACS after the finalisation of modalities,” said the official.
Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of locomotives as it has about 520 locomotives out of which about 450 are under repair.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2012.