|Posted by Engr Waseem Raja on March 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM|
Hundreds of passengers suffered badly on Thursday after Pakistan Railways halted the functioning of more than eight trains running on different routes due to the shortage of fuel.
According to sources, Kohat Passenger Train, Attock City Passenger Train, Khewra Passenger Train and Pind Dadan Khan up and down trains were halted because of non-availability of fuel. “If arrangements for fuel are not made then there is a possibility of closing down all 22 passenger trains operating from Rawalpindi,” sources added.
Sources said that all halted trains were operating when they were stopped after covering some distance from the starting point. As a result, the passengers on board suffered badly for long hours till they were accommodated in other coaches coming from different routes.
At present, the Pakistan Railways is facing a problem of old engines and locomotives, which stops functioning of trains only after half an hour of their operation. The shortage of fuel is another problem. It is high time for redressing these major problems to save the Pakistan Railways from total collapse, sources said.
The railway officials, including DCO Imran Hayat Khan, admitted the fact that the operation of trains had to be stopped because of shortage of fuel. “There is no fuel left for operating trains. If the government or headquarters do not provide us with fuel there is a possibility of closure of the remaining trains running from the Rawalpindi division,” the official said. Divisional Superintendent Railways (Rawalpindi Division) Tariq Khan, however, gave a different statement when contacted by ‘The News’. He said that the service of trains were not stopped rather in order to save fuel and cope with the crisis-like situation, the coaches of two trains were attached to one engine. The passengers on board did not suffer, he claimed.
Moreover, freight trains carrying fuel are on their way to overcome the problem. They would reach Rawalpindi on Friday morning. The DS said that the Pakistan Railways had to pay over Rs800 million to the Pakistan State Oil as dues against fuel. An amount of Rs1 billion is spent on fuel by the department. However, over last six months or more, the Pakistan Railways is not receiving the total amount in one phase. Delay is made in the payment of fuel bills by the concerned quarters, he stated.
He admitted that there is a possibility of closure of the railway transport if these problems continue and remedial measures are not taken immediately. Effective and practical measures are needed to save the railway transport from total collapse, he added.