Fuel supply to Railways suspended for non-payment of Rs 996 million

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Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has cut fuel supply substantially to the Pakistan Railways (PR) for non-payment of Rs 996 million as outstanding dues. Resultantly, the PR has no option but to procure 2,63,000 litres diesel per day from the open market in order to keep its operations in tact, sources told Business Recorder here on Tuesday.

Some independent circles have raised eyebrows over the practice of denying payment to PSO and procuring equal amount of diesel from the open market against hard cash, smelling rat and saying that a Commission Mafia has become active in minting money through uncalled for procurement procedure. An official of PR said, 'The federal government had fixed a limit of Rs 1,000 million for fuel supply on credit to the PR from the PSO. Generally, the outstanding dues of diesel remain below the prescribed limit of credit.

When contacted, the Director Public Relation (DPR) Zubair Shafi Ghouri said hectic efforts were made to pay the dues to PSO. He said the PR is supposed to carry an advance diesel stock of three days for smooth operations. Therefore, purchasing diesel from open market on day-to-day basis is in practise to meet the requirement of 2,63,000 litres per day.

It is worth noting that despite addition of refurbished locomotive and new trains, the Pakistan Railways had incurred a revenue deficit of Rs 1,355 million during first half of current fiscal. Chances of continuity of this trend is being predicted by independent circles for next half of current fiscal and projected deficit is likely to be above Rs 2.5 billion.

The total number of trains now operational was 88 on all routes, including 32 Express, 30 intra-cities, 10 passengers with more stoppages, eight goods, six international and two shuttles. The railway had 150 locomotives in working out of which 120 were in better condition to pull trains in smooth, an official further said.

To continue its operation Pakistan Railways is purchasing diesel from Pakistan State Oil (PSO) on daily basis according to its requirement of all seven divisions. All Divisional Superintendents (DSs) are given authority to purchase diesel from the open market. The daily consumption of diesel was calculated Rs 263, 000 litres to ensure the operation of all infrastructure of PR. When asked why is PR purchasing diesel from open market, an official said that in the past, most of the trains were delayed and even restrained from operation owing to acute shortage of diesel for locomotives.

To address this issue, the higher authorities allowed divisional superintendents to purchase diesel from open market to meet the demand in case of shortage in oil supply. The highest requirement of diesel was calculated 80,000 litres in Lahore division with 75,000 litres for Karachi and the least 3,000 litres for Kotri division per day.

Courtesy: B Recorder

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