LAHORE The Railways employees and pensioners Wednesday staged a protest demonstration against the non-payment of salaries and delay in releasing pension money. Led by National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways Chairman Ayaz Sadiq, the dozens of former and current workers of the utility staged sit-in in front of the Railways Headquarters and chanted slogans against the government. The protestors alleged that they had visited the Headquarter many times to get pension but the management denied payment on the pretext of lack of funds. Holding the government and the Railways Ministry responsible for the situation, they said the delay in release of salary and pension from the department had become a permanent headache for them. Mr Ayaz Sadiq told TheNation that Lahore Division had to pay Rs 170 million in terms of pension money. He said that being a public representative and Railways Standing Committee Chairman, he was supporting the workers. The government was looking non-serious in solving the crisis in the public utility, he added. According to him, the Railways faced Rs 50 billion deficit last year, while the rail deficit would touch Rs 65 billion during this year. With the proper intention of the government, he maintained, the utility could become a smart and profit-earning institution. Addressing the protestors, Mr Ayaz held the government responsible for the rail crisis. He vowed to continue his support until the solution of workers problems. He stressed the government to ensure in-time payment of salaries and pension to the rail workers. Meanwhile, at the time when the rail has only two days diesel supply, Pakistan State Oil has threatened to shut the supply of diesel to the Railways after a cheque of Rs 20 million was dishonoured. According to a local TV, a letter written by the management of PSO to Pakistan Railways stated that the PSO owed Rs 1 billion by the Railways and a cheque worth Rs 20 million was issued to cover this amount but it was dishonoured. The TV quoting the PSOs officials saying that diesel could not be supplied under these conditions. The Railways spokesman while talking to this scribe said that they were trying to arrange the payment for the PSO so that rail operation was not stopped.