Accountability: Railways told to probe locomotive breakdown

Railways GM told to get department plots vacated, or at least a fair price for them.

Shahram Haq July 24, 2011


The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for Railways, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, on Saturday directed the Railways general manager to hold an inquiry to fix responsibility for the damage done to 198 locomotives.

He was addressing a standing committee meeting at Railways Headquarters on Saturday. Sadiq said he believed that the use of low-quality and second-hand fuel was responsible for the damage.

Locomotives would continue breaking down unless action was taken against the officials responsible for it. He refused to accept that low-ranking officials could use second-hand fuel without senior officials knowing about it. The inquiry would be handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency if the Railways GM failed to fix responsibility for the losses, Sadiq said.

The City Railway Station in Lahore has seen repeated delays in schedules in recent weeks, as the damaged locomotives have meant many trains have been cancelled.

During discussion at the meeting of the illegal allotment of 460 plots to 180 officials, standing committee member Yasmeen Rehman directed the general manager to either get the occupants to vacate the plots or charge them market price.

The Railways management was also asked to investigate the import of engines and coaches from China during Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi’s tenure as Railways Minister for any financial irregularities.

He said the fact that the case involved some generals could not be an excuse to suppress the matter. He was responding to a National Accountability Bureau officer’s claim that the bureau had lost some documents related to the case the railways had sent them.

The committee was earlier told that a separate committee had been formed to investigate the scam. Sadiq, however, said he was not satisfied with the committee’s inquiry.

He expressed shock over the failure of the railways’ management to trace those responsible for the theft of 11 250-kg radiators. He said no outsider could these without collusion of department’s employees.

He said it appeared some high officials were involved in the matter.

He said earlier told by the FIA and the railway police that six employees had been held for interrogations and that they would catch the culprits very soon.

The chairman gave them a month’s time to complete their investigation.

He said there were massive financial irregularities in the department’s accounts. He criticised the senior officials for their failure to trace these irregularities and take action against the culprits.

Losing his temper with chief engineer Mir Ahmad Khan, Sadiq told him to leave the room in the middle of the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2011.


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