NLC wooed into paying for locomotive repair, as railways offers discount on freight

Foreign and Pakistani experts are looking over the engines.

Sohail Khattak July 08, 2012

KARACHI: Technical experts from Pakistan and abroad are visiting the locomotives shed at Karachi Cantt Station for repairing Pakistan Railways’ (PR) dysfunctional locomotives.

The cost of repair will be borne by National Logistic Cell (NLC) which also sent out the tenders for inviting technicians.

The railways signed a deal with the army-run NLC for repairing 30 of its dysfunctional locomotives. Under the deal, the NLC will bear the cost of the project and in turn PR will use 15 locomotives to transport NLC’s freight at a discount.

So far, four Pakistani and other foreign experts have paid a visit to the locomotives shed at the Cantt station and a team of Korean engineers are on a visit there. The teams will assess the project and then make a bid for NLC’s tender.

According to an NLC official, the first engine will be functional in three months. “The tenders will be opened on July 18,” he said. “The NLC will pay the total of the project and the railways will return the amount by giving them a 20 per cent discount on transporting each consignment of the NLC.”

The official told The Express Tribune that all the engines are of the HGMU-30/GMU-30 model and have been manufactured by General Motors of the United States (US). He said that the main parts of the engine will be imported from the US from the manufacturer while the rest will be made here.

He said that this project will not help in decreasing the flow of freight by road. “The amount of good transported is so high that this project would not visibly decrease the amount transported by road,” said the official.

However, Pakistan Railways Works Manager Zulfiqar Sheikh said that the deal was signed between the NLC and Pakistan Railways Headquarters, which is in Lahore, and he had no information about it.

The central chairman of Railway Workers Union, Manzoor Ahmed Razi, told The Express Tribune that the company’s own factories could repair these engines if they were provided with enough funds. “The government is not taking railways seriously. Funds for repairing the engines are only announced verbally but not given practically,” Razi said. “Out of the total 540 engines, 98 are operational, 150 can be repaired while the rest are dead.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2012.

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