Friday, July 30, 2010

Why Pakistan Railways is collapsing?

We keep hearing these days of a large number of trains being shut off by PR.The ostensible reason,probably,is losing money on certain uneconomic passages.Will PR come into profit after such a massive closure and pruning of service coverage and level? It is doubtful that it will.I am no expert on Railways,but it is widely known that massive corruption and leakages are mostly responsible for its predicament.

PR is not expected to run into profit.Instead of earning a profit,the excess revenue of such service organisations should bring down the fares? But PR is in massive RED and has to be bailed out through subsidies.Indian Railways ,some eight times bigger than PR in almost all respects,suffered from similar and comparable problems.Lalloo Parsad,the same former flamboyant and corrupt Chief Minister of the poor Indian State of Bihar, and now the minister of Indian Railways for some years,has transformed IR into a profitable entity without increasing the fares and service level.Honesty is not his strength, to say the least.But probably Efficiency is.IR is full of bureaucracy,perhaps even more than PR is.Lalloo utilised the same people and turned IR around.

This brings some hope.Lalloo's Pakistani counterpart could do the same.It is worth going to India and learn a few lessons from the turn around of IR.Ther is a big market and need for the poor and highly densely populated countries like India and Pakistan , where massive urbanisation has occurred , creating massive markets for cheaper travel services.Air Travel ,at least in Pakistan,has become awfully expensive.Not only the poor ,but higher economic classes and businessmen and their executive would find it appropriate to travel by cheaper Trains.

There does not appear to be a basic unsolvable problem.The concerned minister has to apply his mind and energy.You donot have to be a Railway genius.If Lalloo can do it ,our lesser lalloos can do it as well.

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