Pakistan Railways, lifeline of the country, is a national state-run transport service. It is under the administration of federal government and its head quarter is in Lahore. It is an important source of transportation throughout Pakistan. It carries millions of passengers throughout the country. It used to carry huge freight in Pakistan. This cheap and safe mode for passengers is now facing a number of issues. A number of services of Pakistan Railways have been cancelled, suspended or terminated and many more will be suspended in near future because of mismanagement and shortage of locomotives, fuel and money. The chapter of all major services, from Lahore to Karachi, has been closed. It is pertinent to mention that all AC serviceshave been stopped. The incompetent administration has failed to attain locomotives from any quarter of the world. Passengers are suffering due to mismanagement of administration. Pakistan Railways decision to suspend goods train service due to severe shortage of locomotives and fuel is another blow to this organization. It is now basically financially bankrupt organization. In other words it is on the verge of financial collapse.
The political interference, nepotism, corruption, poor maintenance of tracks & bridges and mismanagement in almost every field are the major causes of failure of Pakistan Railways. Pakistan Railways purchased 69 completely built locomotive units from China under 2003 agreement. These are about 37% cheaper than the European locomotives but considered to be faulty. It is stated that 32 of these have already been scraped. Dong Fang Electric Corporation has been severely criticized for producing low quality locomotives. The other viewpoint is that misuse of the machinery was the major cause of the failure of Chinese locomotives. According to Sheikh Rashid, the former railway minister, crankshafts of locomotives worth Rs10 million were damaged because of the use of substandard lubrication oil.
It may be mentioned here that normally a locomotive consists of six traction motors while the Pakistan Railways is operating them with only three or four motors. This is the major cause of mid-way breakdown of trains. The passengers, in such a case, have to wait for a long time till repair or replacement of faulty engine takes place. Naturally trains are too late and passengers can be seen sitting at platforms with their luggage. A number of trains lack facility of light at nights because of the failure of the generators and ill attitude of management. Another reason that prevents people to go by train is increase in corruption by the ticketing officials. The reservation of birth is an uphill task. There are complaints that reservation is confirmed after receiving bribe of hundred or more rupees by passengers. Pakistan Railways is no more the best choice to travel for the passengers.
Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, federal minister for Pakistan Railways, is a very controversial figure. He is considered to be somewhat responsible for the deteriorating situation of Pakistan Railways. His viewpoint is that the whole railway system is obsolete. He complains that half of the total locomotives are out of order. Almost 86 % bridges are more than 100 years old. The trains, tracks and machinery are outdated or faulty. He says that Pakistan needs 25 to 30 engines annually. He is now making a plan to repair, hire or lease locomotives in collaboration with the private sector. Moreover, he believes that a bailout package can be helpful to overpower the crisis. According to him delay in funds to Railways is the root cause of the crisis. He accuses the federal government for not releasing remarkable funds for the betterment of Pakistan Railways. All his plans may end in failure because of corruption in the management, financial problems, his ill-advised attitude and lack of vision. The efficiency of the railway minister is evident from its almost nil performance. He believes that two mafia gangs...
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