Pakistan Railways’ Acting General Manager (Operations) Anjum Pervaiz said on Saturday that the closure of 40 to 50 passenger trains of branch lines was under consideration to overcome the crisis being faced by the railways.
Addressing a news conference at the Railways Headquarters, he said the administration had to take some difficult decisions to ensure timely arrival and departure of trains.
Apologising to people for prolonged delays in departure and arrival of trains, Pervaiz expressed hope that the situation would improve soon.
He said the federal government had already approved a relief package for the department, which will facilitate repair and renovation of 100 old locomotives, 500 passenger coaches, 650 freight wagons and 50 power vans.
He added that the margin for the purchase of oil from PSO on credit had been increased to Rs2 billion from Rs1 billion.
On Friday, the finance ministry approved a Rs11 billion bailout package for the railways. The deal was made possible after Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour dropped his earlier demands to get the entirety of the bailout funds from the State Bank of Pakistan or the federal budget.
Of the Rs11 billion, about Rs6.1 billion will be arranged as loans from commercial banks, backed by a sovereign guarantee. The government has agreed to pay the interest on those loans, which will be used to repair the locomotives, about 60% of which are currently not working. The remaining Rs4 billion will be arranged from the Public Sector Development Programme.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011
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