KARACHI: Railway Minister, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, has
expressed the determination to take the railways out of its financial
deficit which has risen from Rs 520 million in 1991-92 to 28 billion
“Pakistan Railway is in a big fix as it is short of locomotices
with existing ones having been grown old besides the railway needing
new coaches and freight wagons for which finances are required”, he
said while addressing a press conference after having a briefing on
railway's performance at Karachi Divsion Railway Headquarter here
Earlier the General Manager (Operations) Railway Nasir Zaidi and
Divisional Superintendent Railway Karachi Division, Mir Mohammed
Khaskheli gave a detail briefing to the Minister.
Bilour recalled the colossal damage caused to railway's
installations on December 27 after assassination of Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto in Rawalpindi.
He said the losses caused to railway's installations including
signalling system, railway stations, trains, tracks, records etc
amounted to Rs 7.5 billion.
He added that tenders have been floated for installation of
signalling system which will cost Rs.1.5 billion.
The Minister pointed out that this loss was caused but to country and nation, and appealed to people not to cause damage to national assets.
According to Bilour the railway can overcome its financial
problems, should every one discharge his duties with honesty and a
sense of commitment.
He said that efforts would be made to bridge the fiscal gap by
plugging the loopholes on one side, and increasing the freight traffic
on the other which suffered because of NLC.
The Government will be approached to assign more business
Replying a question, the Minister claimed that railway's fares
were reatively lower than buses while there is a marked difference
between the service offered by the two.
Pointing out that Railway is paying Rs 6 billion on pension, he
said it has not yet thought about reducing existing fares.
He said that privatization of the Railway is not on the cards and
he is of the opinion that assets which serve the national interests
should not be privatised.
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour told a questioner that work is going on Karachi
Circular Railway project, while Japan has approved a soft term loan of
872 million dollars for the mass transit project which would
incorporate KCR expansion and mass transit system.
To another question, the Railway Minister said that CCTV camers
are being installed at Karachi, Rohri and Lahore railway stations in
the first phase and these would be operational in about three months..
On the occasion GM Railway Nasir Zaidi informed that installation
of CCTV camers costing Rs 10.5 million, is part of greater security
and surveillance project and these would also be installed at railway
workshops to check theft and employees presence. He said walk through
security gates have been installed at Karachi Cantonment station.
Bilour informed that at present the railway is short
of manpower and employees strength at present is 80,000. He said to
meet the shortfall of human resource, railway will undertake
To a question Divisional Superintendent Mir Mohammed Khaskheli
informed that a plan for expansion of Cantonment station is in the
pipeline while tenders have been issued for construction of more