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PM orders making Railways a viable entity - Says Railways should put its house in order - Improve management and bring operational efficiency.

ISLAMABAD, September 27, 2010 (Frontier Star): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the Ministry of Railways to restructure Pakistan Railways on modern and commercial lines to make it a viable financial entity. He said the root causes of operational inefficiency could be addressed by idealization as well as improvement of the railway track, enhancement of goods transportation and improvement in passengers service. Chairing a high-level meeting to review the progress of implementation of Cabinet decision on Restructuring of Railways recommendations at the Ministry here Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister stressed upon the need of changing mindset of the Ministry and Railways officials to enhance operational efficiency through good governance and to make Railways a profit earning entity. He asked the Minister for Railways and the Finance Minister to work out a long term approach to improve operation efficiency and financial viability. The Prime Minster, in his opening remarks observed that in the twenty-first century, Pakistan needs a railway system that is cheap, efficient, reliable and secure mode of communication for million of passengers and movement of goods. He urged Pakistan Railways to reclaim its old glory to become a preferred mean of traveling for the common man. To achieve this goal, he added, Pakistan Railways must under-go a total transformation. He observed that Pakistan Railways needs infrastructure and rolling stocks that are modern, faster, safer and reliable, however, at the same time Pakistan Railways being a public service utility should adopt service delivery and customer satisfaction as its guiding motto. The Prime Minister said Pakistan Railways is a historical asset as well as a strategic entity which played an important role in socio-economic development of the country. He observed that it provided the much needed communication lines for transportation of people and goods across the country. He mentioned that Pakistan Railway was once the cheapest and the most reliable mode of transport but today Pakistan Railways is a liability rather than an asset. He said the Government could not afford to throw good money after the bad money as the Government is facing serious financial management challenges like rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood affected areas and security related expenditures. He assured that the Government would, however, like to do as much as it can to revive Pakistan Railways yet Pakistan Railways should first put up a genuinely self-help effort and display performance improvement to qualify for financial assistance from GOP. The Prime Minister said last year the Federal Cabinet set up the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to ensure good governance and reduce their losses and Pakistan Railways was one of the SOEs selected for the first phase of restructuring. Much time has passed and I have yet to see tangible results on ground, he observed. He urged the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring to finalize the re-structuring proposals and place them before the Cabinet at the earliest. He instructed that the re-structuring proposals should have a clear and doable road-map with timelines and measurable targets and performance benchmarks. He directed the Ministry that in the meanwhile, the Pakistan Railways should put its house in order and begin work on improving management and bringing operational efficiency by utilizing the resources available in the organization. He also instructed that Pakistan Railways must focus on reducing operating costs while introducing innovation to increase internal earnings. At the same time, he added, it must also focus on better management and utilization of non-core assets to fund operational capacities. The Prime Minister said safety and security should receive the priority it deserves. He has pointed out that there are hundreds of un-manned Railway Crossings across the country which is a permanent public hazard. He regretted that many precious lives had been lost in the past including those of innocent school children. He directed Pakistan Railways to take immediate steps for putting up gates at the un-manned railway crossings. The Federal Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilor apprised the Prime Minister of the steps taken to implement the Cabinet decisions. He also mentioned that due to shortage of locomotive, Pakistan Railways is facing serious problems and difficulties. The Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister of State for Railways Mr. Afzal Sindhu and the concerned senior officials attended the meeting.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 27, 2010
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