LAHORE – Having no appropriate system to check travelling without tickets, Pakistan Railways (PR) is facing 30 to 40 per cent losses in targeted revenue on branch trains and 10 to 20 per cent on long-distance trains, TheNation has learnt.
Just six months ago, Pakistan Railways’ management had claimed to introduce a new system to facilitate genuine travelling passengers on board but system could not be implemented due to unknown reasons.
According to proposed system, an Assistant Train Manager (ATM) was announced to be deputed on each coach to look after passengers. The train manager was proposed to supervise the work of ATMs. The system was also then introduced at Korakoram Express on experimental basis. The sources said that ticket-less travelling came under control in Korakoram Express, Shalimar Express and Business Train. But, they added, on other express and branch trains, corruption continued without any check and balance. The officers of the Railways seeking anonymity claimed that Pakistan Railways Police (PRP) provided ‘facilitation’ to passengers wanted to travel without tickets. But, it is fact that police personals cannot do this alone.
The PRP, on the other side, claimed that on the directives of PRP Inspector General Syed Ibne Hussain, they had already launched a campaign against ticket-less travelling. For this purpose, it was said, six teams had been constituted at CPO level. These teams conducted raid on any train at any place and charged ticket-less travellers . To establish their claim, the PRP said that teams have detected 1,785 tickets-less passengers and collected over Rs 1 million as fine from them, which was deposited in Railway Finance Department from February 2012 to date. The trend of ticket-less travelling has been reducing after conducting raids by PRP, the Police claimed.
When asked for the Railways former General Manager Saeed Akhtar that how the crime can be controlled, he said only solution to stop ticket-less travelling was outsourcing of Railways. “You can’t put check on every person in the department and stop him for doing corruption. Outsource the trains to private companies on fixed revenue , one can see better results,” claimed Saeed Akhtar, who during his tenure always advocated to run Railways with private-public partnership.
This is worth to mention here that the losses to PR have not only affected Railways operations but have also led to delay in salaries and pensions of employees. The Railways Minster and top management had always claimed that shortages of funds was the main reason behind decline of public utility but majority of officers believed that not only scarcity of funds but corruption, both at lower and higher levels, land disputes and ticket-less travelling were equally sharing in the decline of the Railways.