Railways pursuing plan to repair 200 locomotives

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Railways is pursuing a comprehensive plan to repair its 200 locomotives, aimed at making it an efficient and profitable organisation. Presently, 180 locomotives on average are operational while 285 locomotives are out of order, of which 200 locomotives are repairable. Under the plan, 70 locomotives are being repaired against PSDP project of 150 Locomotives Special Repairs and will be completed within two years. The other 27 locomotives are being rehabilitated through PSDP under another project - Rehabilitation of Locomotives and will be completed by Dec 2015 while 50 locomotives are planned to be repaired by 2015-16.

Besides, efforts are being made to repair the locomotives through revenue budget as well.

Moreover, the department said to put the repaired locomotives in operation is a stop gap arrangement and for sustainable operations, Pakistan Railways will have to induct new locomotives.

With regard to procurement of new locomotives, it said procurement of 75 locomotives is under process through PSDP.

Contract agreement for manufacturing/assembling of 5 locomotives at Pakistan Locomotive Factory, Risalpur has been signed and LC established.

Material kits for the locomotives will be supplied in May 2014 and manufacturing/assembling will be completed by December 2014.

Public transporters overcharging owing to CNG shortage

ISLAMABAD (APP): The public transporters are fleecing the commuters by overcharging in the wake of CNG shortage who daily travel between the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The transporters operating vans and Suzuki pick-ups are charging higher fares claiming that they are paying more to meet the petrol and diesel expenses. They have increased the fare by 30 percent as a result a passenger who intends to go from Aabpara to Bari Imam, has to pay an additional five rupees and even charge 10 rupees more from families. Exchange of hot words and scuffle between conductors and passengers has become a routine matter during travelling.

A commuter, Noman Akhtar pointed out that although, the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has not announced any revision in public transport fares but the transporters have enhanced fares at their own.

He informed that conductor of a Suzuki pick-up charged Rs.30 instead of Rs.15 fixed by the RTA during travelling from Kalma Chowk to Saddar.

Mudasir a resident of Rawalpindi said that now the public transport is getting CNG three-day in a week but are still overcharging from the commuters.

A number of other passengers while registering similar complaints, drew attention of the concerned authorities to take stock of this situation and take action against the violators.

When contacted, an official of the RTA informed that no increase has been made in the fare of public transport.

Xinjiang team to talk on supplying 3000-4000MW to Pakistan

BEIJING (APP): A high-powered delegation from Xinjiang is arriving on Monday to hold talks on supplying 3000-4000MW electricity to Pakistan. The Xinjiang govt plans to discuss supplying electricity to Pakistan through Kashgar. The delegation is visiting Pakistan as a follow-up visit of the CM of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif who had held meetings when he visited Xinjiang in November last year . The Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja M Asif who also recently visited Beijing invited various Chinese companies to avail the business friendly policies of the government offering for investment in energy and infrastructure development.

The 4-member delegation is led by Bai Yu Feg, Director of Commercial Affairs of Xinjiang government.

The delegation will hold meetings with senior officials of the Ministry of Water and Power, besides relevant technical departments on viability of the project and its implementation.

Lahore stock exchange delists JS Fund from ready board quotations

LAHORE (STAFF REPORTER): The JS Aggressive Income Fund- Open end Fund managed by JS Investments Limited was listed at LSE on Feb 19, 2008. The duration of the Fund was perpetual. The Management Company has revoked the fund because fund’s net assets have been fall below the minimum prescribed limit as specified under the NBFC & NE Regulations, 2008. SECP has also issued NOC for revocation of the fund.  All the units of the fund have been fully redeemed as reported by the Management Company, which has also been duly certified by CDCPL (the Trustee). In view of the above, the Exchange has decided to delist JS Aggressive Income Fund w.e.f. Jan 20, 2014 from the Ready Board Quotation of LSE.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lahore Stock Exchange Mr. Aftab Ahmed Chaudhry congratulated the management and stakeholders of JS Aggressive Income Fund for successfully completing the process of redemption by the management of the Fund. MD also highlighted the steps taken by the LSE contributing to build a mechanism that has produced more transparency in the trading of the shares as well as to secure the investment of the investors. Lahore Stock Exchange is a fully electronic and completely automated stock exchange of Pakistan that is the only domestic exchange to have more than one trading floors in the region.

EU wants common rules for shale gas 'fracking'

BRUSSELS (AFP): The European Commission wants EU member states to accept common environment and health rules if they use controversial 'fracking' to develop shale gas resources. A document prepared for the Commission's 2030 Energy and Climate Package due Wednesday recognises the importance of the shale gas revolution, which has driven US gas prices down sharply, but also recommends strong regulation. "Experts agree that shale gas extraction leads to higher cumulative environmental risks and impacts compared to conventional gas extraction," said the draft document.

If such "environmental and health risks, lack of transparency and legal uncertainties remain unaddressed, public concerns will persist," it said.

Accordingly, it recommended a series of measures the 28 EU member states to follow if they wanted to develop shale gas.

For example, they should "ensure that a strategic environmental assessment is carried out" before project approval, to gauge the risk to other resources, such as water supplies.

The public should also be "informed of chemicals used in fracking," it said.

Environmental reporting should be transparent, it added.

The recommendations are at this stage non-binding but the Commission said it would "closely monitor" their implementation and encouraged member states to adopt them as best practice.

It said it will report again in 2015 and at that point could "decide to put forward legislative proposals."

Fracking involves the injection of chemicals and water under very high pressure to fracture shale rock formations deep underground and so release the gas and oil they contain.

Widely used in the United States, it has been heralded as an "energy revolution", helping put the US economy back on track with US companies benefitting from much cheaper energy prices.

That has sparked calls, notably from Britain, for the EU to adopt light-touch regulation on shale gas but others such as France oppose fracking given the environmental concerns.

The Commission package due next week will replace its current programme which lays down a target for a 20 percent reduction compared with 1990 levels in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.

In addition, EU member states are supposed to source 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources and achieve a 20 percent energy efficiency gain by the same date.

The European Parliament's environmental committee wants a 40-30-40 package but this looks ambitious, with member states focused on getting a economy back on track rather than add to business costs.

Against this backdrop, the future of shale gas is expected to be a major bone of contention in fixing the 2030 guidelines.