Pakistan Railways at virtual standstill: Daily

August 8th, 2011 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 8 (IANS) Pakistan Railways’ decrepit engines are not able to haul coaches along unsafe rails that cross dangerous bridges, said a Pakistani daily while noting that it takes “concentrated incompetence to break the national railway system as comprehensively as this”.

An editorial in the News International Monday said: “The Pakistan Railways has at last achieved something - more trains are later than ever or cancelled than at any time in its post-colonial history.”

It said that the government has “thrown more cash at it in the belief that this will somehow revive the poor creature”.

On Friday, the government approved a payment of Rs.10.1 billion.

The editorial said the entire railways system is at “a virtual standstill with broken or decrepit engines unable to haul clapped-out coaches along unsafe rails that cross dangerous bridges”.

“It takes concentrated incompetence to break our national railway system as comprehensively as this….”

It went on to say that “a long tradition of managerial mediocrity is now so institutionalised that it has become the norm. There are no bright sparks in the management pool that could help us claw our way out of this mess; and despite pelting the rolling stock with rupees, the end result is going to be the same and the railways will eventually fold completely”.

Describing the situation as the equivalent of what doctors call a ‘persistent vegetative state’, the editorial said: “The Rs.10.1 billion … would take weeks to filter through the system to the point at which it can be used to repair rolling stock or purchase the fuel to run engines, once repaired.”

It said that hundreds of thousands of rail customers have to find alternative transport.

“Their alternative is our crumbling road system using buses that are overcrowded and unsafe, driven by men who appear to have trained as kamikaze pilots.”

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