ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Railway suffered a loss of Rs 623 million due to en-route detention of trains on account of failure of signals, electric instruments, power plants, coaches and prevision of HSD and lube oil, the auditors have pointed out.

Documents available with The Nation reveal that rule 39 (a) of general rules for Pakistan Railways with Subsidiary Rules provides that all points, signals, electric instruments and other apparatus shall be kept in proper working order and the station masters or cabin staff shall report immediately to the authorities, and to the person or persons in-charge of maintenance, any case in which the apparatus is defective and also when the defect has been rectified.

The documents say, Pakistan Railways had to bear a loss of Rs 2420 per minute in case of en-route detention of train for one minute as depicted in poster for fuel economy got printed and circulated by Divisional Mechanical Engineer. The matter was reported to the management during April, 2014 to January, 2015. No reply was received against serial no 2 to 5.

It was replied against serial no. 1 that routine failures of signalling system were being attended to by the signalling staff within the shortest possible time, whereas abnormal detentions of trains generally occurred due heavy rain, electric load shedding etc. 

The en-route trains suffered detention until rectification of failure.  The entire procedure took sufficient time and caused extra consumption of fuel. Against serial no. 6 it was replied that electrical department was putting all possible efforts for example rehabilitation of coaches, switching over 110 volts to 220 volts for standardizing the system, introduction of improved Chinese inter car couplers etc.  to improve the situation and minimize the detentions.

The documents further say, the reply against serial no.1 was not satisfactory because trains suffered en-route detentions due to improper maintenance of signaling system causing loss of Rs 296.98 million. The reply against serial no.6 was also not satisfactory because many trains were detained for more than 30 minutes but neither matter was inquired nor action taken to avoid heavy detention.

DAC in its meeting held on January 5, 2015 against serial no.6 directed the PO to provide comparative figures of detention of trains en-route for subsequent period showing improvement to Audit and AGM/Mechanical was nominated as coordinator. In compliance of DAC directive statement showing the comparison between the year 2013 and 2014 submitted by the AGM Mechnical revealed that several trains were detained 1863 minutes till November, 2014 as compared to previous year train detention which was 2567 minutes till November, 2013. These figures did not show the drastic reduction in en-route detention.

The Audit General of Pakistan detected that each case of heavy detention needs to be inquired to fix responsibility besides taking action against the persons found at fault.