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Pakistan Railways holds a Consultative workshop on Railways Strategic Plan

Lahore : Pakistan Railways held a Consultative workshop on Railways Strategic Plan with Asian Development Bank consultant’s team at local hotel here at Lahore.

Consultative workshop encompassed all aspects of huge department like Business development, Human Resource management, Rolling stock availability and Infrastructure development. ‘We are heading towards a new era and reinventing Pakistan railways, our resolve to make a comprehensive, workable, useful, futuristic policy and rule book would give a new bible to Pakistan Railways for coming decades, at the same time onus of responsibility on our shoulders has increased as we are answerable for every decision we take today.

This is last opportunity for us to formulate an all-inclusive strategy that will define governance frame work of Future Pakistan Railways.’ Said CEO Pakistan Railways in his opening remarks.

Consultative workshop was presided by advisor to Minister for Railways Anjum Pervaiz and co Chaired by Secretary Railway Board Ms Parveen Agha.

Its was attended by Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Javed Anwar and all Principal Officer of Pakistan Railways. ‘It’s not an ADB document it’s your strategic document, all we have done is provide you international experts, we are facilitating the process, nothing more, this document is for and by Pakistan railways.’

ADB consultant team head Mr. Sakamoto told the participants. While giving the presentations on different departments of Pakistan Railways, it was told to the ADB team that Pakistan Railways assets started deteriorating in 1980s and 90s due to lack of investment thereby resulting in reduction in number of trains and freight operation nearly halted back in 2012.

Today freight traffic has increased from only 0.4 million tonnes in 2013 to 5 million tonnes today and would be 8 million tonnes next year. Pakistan Railways has been able to double its revenue in a short span of three years and going ahead of its targets, it was earning Rs 18 billion in 2013 and has set target of Rs.53 billion for this financial year, while it closed at Rs 40 billion last year.

Railways is ready to replace its redundant rolling stock, it has already added 4000 horse power 55 General Electric locomotives to its stock and by 2025 functional locomotives will increase from 300 to 500.

Pakistan Railways will consider replacing outdated locomotives and hauled coaching equipment with modern high speed and high tech trains. Pakistan railways is going to receive the most massive investment of its history that is 8-9 billion US dollars in next 5 years. Investing nearly 8 billion dollars in upgrading and modernizing Railways would need formation of additional passenger companies, modernized commercial approach, Safety strategy, safety management systems and a proper road map for which ADB has been very helpful.

Railways Infrastructure includes tracks, buildings, electrical, signalling, telecommunication and IT. Infrastructure department’s strategy is primarily concerned with implementation of the major investments to modernize/ upgrade ML1 and planning the modernization/ rehabilitation of ML 2 and ML 3 as well as new links. ML 1 is future of Railways infrastructure as it will introduce new working methods i.e computerization, use of GPS in signalling system, increase loading capacity 25 tonnes / axle and design speed of 160 km per hour.

Freight has already increased to 24000 tonnes from 1000 tonnes. CPEC leader Ashfaq Khattak told the consultant team that International experience states that most of world’s railways are state owned enterprises that are run by Independent Boards which are bound to follow government’s directives, however they are run as commercial entities and for public service obligations (PSO), Governments compensates railways.

In Pakistan over the period of time procedures of Pakistan Railways have become cumbersome and complicated and we are here to sort out the issues broadly, from policy making to management to human resource development. We have messed up in last 30, 40 years and strategic plan is to fix the problems that we are facing today and redefine future too.

This consultation process of ADB and Pakistan Railways was started in last December and many brain storming sessions were held with relevant stake holders in the other ministries.

The consultative workshop today will be followed by a final workshop planned on 29 of this month and the inputs/ policy decisions by all stake holders’ after being well scrutinised and discussed with help of international consultation team, would be presented to Government for approval, this policy paper would be the road map to future of Pakistan Railways.

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