ISLAMABAD

Pakistan Railways is continuing to be a huge burden on national exchequer by suffering financial losses, triggering Ministry of Railways to lease out large swathes of its land in order to keep the trains rolling.

Despite the Rs25 billion bailout package announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year, PR continues to be a white elephant.

And now, it wants to increase its fuel storage capacity from 14 days to a period of one month in order to keep the trains rolling, a move that can further incur losses on the national exchequer due to price fluctuation in petroleum prices.

The PR currently procures over 11 million liters of High Speed Diesel (HSD) monthly to meet its operational requirement for two weeks. Recently, it suffered millions rupees loss when it procured the fuel at much higher prices from PSO when the rates of oil witnessed reduction in open market.

Official sources told The Nation that the decision to maintain oil stock for one month would worsen financial losses of PR arguing there was no need to stockpiling of the commodity at a time when fuel prices were plummeting every month.

PR’s earning in 2014 stood at Rs11 billion against its expenditure that exceeded Rs24 billion, nearly Rs12 billion in deficit to what officials said would further worsen if drastic reforms were not introduced in the overall operational and administrative affairs of the train service.

The ministry, in a bid to generate money after it could not perform well even after the bailout package, has leased out over 90 acres of land in Sindh to private firms for boosting its financial health.

Once a profitable corporation, the PR could not even withstand the increase in salaries of government officials that incurred Rs1.5 billion losses on the overall earning of the railways network.

Interestingly, Ministry of Railways, according to official documents, has 11, 865 vacant posts which cannot be filled as it would put additional burden on the sinking boat of Pakistan Railways.