Railways witnesses an increase of 8.4% in gross earnings

The passenger traffic (km million), freight carried (tonnes million), and freight (tonnes km million) declined by 3.54%, 0.56%, and 0.07%, respectively during financial year 2020 (July-February) . — AFP/Files

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways’ witnessed an increase of 8.4% in its gross earnings in the first eight months of the financial year 2020 (July-February) that amounted to Rs 36,916.85 million as compared to Rs34,066.12 million during the same period last year.

According to the Economic Survey 2020 issued on Thursday, during the above mentioned term, the number of carried passengers decreased to 39.4 million against 39.9 million during the corresponding period last year, representing a decline of 1.20%.

The passenger traffic (km million), freight carried (tonnes million), and freight (tonnes km million) declined by 3.54%, 0.56%, and 0.07%, respectively.

The department comprises a total of 474 locomotives including 458 diesel engines and 12 steam engines for the 7,791km length of the route across the country.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) assisted the department to prepare the Pakistan Railways Strategic Plan (PRSP), which has been approved by the Railways Board.

The ADB also gave training to Pakistan Railway staff on route optimisation bringing efficiency in current operations.

PRSP includes suggestions to facilitate the railways in achieving its targets of being efficient and profitable. The policy dialogue was still on-going.

Pakistan Railways has recently submitted a business plan to the Supreme Court of Pakistan that outlines a strategy for turning the railways into a profitable entity.

The 121-page report was prepared in connection with a suo-motu case on the losses incurred by the institution.

It was informed in the report that 50% of its engines were old and needed replacement, meanwhile, a shortage of the required funds was affecting the repair work of engines.

As per the proposed plan, the railways would need to sign international joint venture agreements to become a profitable entity.

Passengers would be provided with secure, comfortable, and affordable travel facilities.

The entity would require the assistance of other departments as well to make itself financially stable.

It would also need political and financial support and effective monitoring of its governance and the Railways board. The entire Railway system would be digitalised.

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