RE Rs 10.1 billion bailout package for Pakistan Railways may not work for bringing improvement in the cash-stripped department, The Nation has learnt.
The sources said railways authorities set the target to repair 100 locomotives and 400 coaches on the release of the package while the repairing of those locomotives would take at least 20 months.
An official of the Railways told this scribe that on the release of the bailout package, Rs 6 billion would be spent on the refurbishment of the rolling stock.
The management will purchase equipment which are required for the ailing locomotives and then the local engineers will fit those equipment in engines, the official said.
The rightly placed official, who is also an engineer, said: 'we can maintain five to six locomotives in a month. Hence with this speed the rail would induct 100 locomotives in its existing fleet of 135 locomotives after 20 months.
The management has decided to spend the remaining money (Rs 4 billion) for the rehabilitation of signals and bridges, which were destroyed during protests after the Benazir Bhuttos assassination on December 27, 2007. The official further said that the PR would announce re-tendering for the purchase of 150 locomotives as per the orders of the apex court. Earlier, the tender had been advertised specifically for the purchase of General Electric locomotives.
However, the court ordered the railways not to specify a single company for the purchase of engines and announced international tendering in this regard. Similarly, the case of the purchase of 75 Chinese locomotives is still pending.
Thus, to add these all locomotives, the department would be able to upgrade existing fleet into 450 locomotives, but it would take more at least one and half year. The existing situation is that the department does not have money to buy oil to continue its passenger operation.
The utility has to suspend more than 30 branch trains on daily basis and it does not have money even to pay salaries and pensions for its employees.
In this situation, the background discussion with the various rail officials suggested that the government and the management both have to take practical steps for bringing improvement in the colonial legacy otherwise no one can stop the railways from collapse.