INDIAN ENGINES TO CHUG ON PAK TRACKS

ANIL ANAND

New Delhi, Nov 3: In what is being described as first of its kind agreement between two neighboring countries, India in principle has agreed to sell and lease out locomotive engines to Pakistan to restart hundreds of trains cancelled in that country for want of engines, sources told Greater Kashmir on Saturday.
They said the issue was pending for the past few years and the two sides had been discussing the matter over the months. Indian Railways, according to the sources, would deliver 50 refurbished American Locomotive Company (ALCO) technology locomotives. These are estimated to cost Rs 350 crore.
“Another 50 locomotives of higher horsepower (3000 to 3500) would also be given to Pakistan later on lease. According to a rough estimate, the lease charges would workout to be Rs 900 per hour or Rs 21,600 per day,” sources added.
They said that Pakistan is expected to get the delivery of first set of 10 refurbished engines of 2000 to 2600 horsepower capacity sometime next year. The proposed arrangement being worked out between the two countries also has provision for liberalizing visa issuance to Indian engineers who would be visiting Pakistan to train their counterparts there.
In the absence of facilities in Pakistan, the annual maintenance of the engines is proposed to be done at the Indian Railways shed at Ludhiana. In a related move, Pakistan Government has also agreed to develop similar facilities at its railway shed at Mughalpura near Lahore.
The Government here has cleared the move despite the fact that Indian Railways itself is facing acute shortage of locomotive engines to manage its retinue of 19000 trains cris-crossing over a network of 54,000 kilometers. The ministry officials are hopeful that the crunch situation arising out of the deal struck to bailout Pakistan Railways would be tied up through speedy production of engines by the manufacturing units. “We will shortly start working on the modifications and fix up the used locos to be delivered to Pakistan,” sources added.
Pakistan Railways are facing serious shortage of locos as out of its active strength of 494 engines 137 are out of service. As a result train services in that country have been seriously affected resulting in an annual loss of Rs 25 billion.
During the past four years, Pakistan Government has provided Rs 93 billion subsidy to its Railway department, Rs 32 billion as assistance for development projects and Rs 14 billion as overdraft from State Bank of Pakistan, its Railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour had recently said.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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