Islamabad February 7 2023: Pakistan Railways has earned significant revenue of Rs 28.263 billion during the last six months from July to December 2022 from its regular operations despite closures of train operations during flood devastation.
“The expenditure in the same period was Rs. 52.990 billion, out of the total expenditure, whereas 35 percent of it was related to pensions and 33 percent to salaries of the department,” said an official document available with National News Agency.
In the same period, July-December, 2022, Pakistan Railways received a subsidy of Rs. 21.750 billion as a grant in aid from the federal government. However, the net deficit for the period July-December was Rs. 2.977 billion, it said.
Pakistan Railways is trying its level best to transform itself into a profitable organization despite financial constraints. The department in this regard has developed a two-pronged action plan that included concentration on core activities and emphasis on revenue generation through non-core activities.
Pakistan Railways has been serving the nation since independence. There have been decades of neglect when it comes to investment in railway infrastructure and rolling stock. This neglect has adversely impacted the financial need of the department.
The document said during the first half of the current financial year 2022-23 brought more bad news for the department as the unprecedented floods due to climate change played havoc with the already dilapidated infrastructure.
It not only resulted in revenue loss for Pakistan Railways as train operations remained suspended for more than 35 days but it also put a further burden on the department in terms of restoration of Railway traffic from its meagre resources.
About the concentration on core activities, it said that Pakistan Railways has prepared a business plan in January 2023 to increase its revenue and reduce expenditure through improved governance. The plan is being implemented in letter and spirit.
The recent initiatives towards digitization in form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Railway Automated Booking and Travel Assistance (RABTA) also aim to increase efficiency and reduced the revenue expenditure gap.
The department has restarted its premium train service Green Line from January 2023 and the train consists of new Chinese coaches imported recently equipped with infotainment services like LEDs, Wi-Fi and public address systems.
Pakistan Railways is also importing 230 passenger coaches from China, out of these 46 coaches have arrived from China while the rest of the coaches would be assembled in the country through Transfer of Technology (ToT).
Regarding the emphasis on revenue generation through non-core activities, it said that Pakistan Railways recently presented a business plan to the Supreme Court and successfully pleaded before the court to allow the department to utilize its land for the generation of economic activities and thereby ensure revenue for itself.
Some other avenues are also being explored to improve the revenue potential of the department which included the business potential through the laying of optical fibre cable along the railway tracks and branding of trains and stations.