Prem Labour Union demands funds for recovery of Pakistan Railways

Category: Railways

LAHORE (September 17, 2011) : Pakistan Railways Employees Prem Union has urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to direct the government to immediately release funds to the PR, enabling it to repair its locomotives, power vans and other infrastructure and avert an imminent collapse.
The Supreme Court should also set up a judicial commission to find causes of railways’ downfall and fix responsibility. All those who have been instrumental in bringing railways on the verge of collapse deserve no leniency and should be put to task as soon as possible,” said Union central vice-president Sheikh Anwar at a meeting at the Railways Headquarters on Saturday.
He said more than 60 per cent locomotives and 70 per cent power vans had been lying idle, resulting in Rs3 million losses daily to the railways on an average.
“People get their seats reserved in advance but are told after reaching railway stations that the train has either been cancelled or will depart after hours, primarily due to unavailability of locomotives that have outlived their utility owing to a lack of maintenance in time. A lack of proper seating arrangements, unavailability of potable water and other facilities at the railway stations aggravates the agony of such commuters in summer,” he said.
Comprising judges of the Supreme Court, the commission should scrutinise utilisation of funds allocated for the repair and maintenance of locomotives and power vans during the last 12 years to find out embezzlement and leakages in the process.
The commission should also probe the railways administration move to close down train services, he said.
The indifferent attitude of successive governments towards railways has put the safest and most economical mode of transportation for the poor of the country on the verge of collapse.
The union vice president also demanded that the government compensate damage caused by last summer’s floods to the railways network and take measures to improve law and order problems especially in Balochistan. The government should immediately compensate the railways for losses sustained in the aftermath of violence following Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007.
The posts of clerical staff were not being upgraded in spite of the decision of the Federal Service Tribunal in this regard. The matter regarding regularisation of the services of temporary labourers performing their duties for the last so many years have also been put on back burner.
Workers were being denied their salaries besides travelling and daily allowances on time on one hand and favourite officers were being hired on a contract at exorbitant salaries on the other, he said.

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