Monday, November 4, 2013

Saeed AhmedMonday, November 04, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways (PR) which had recently sent a delegation to South Korea, reportedly made a shady deal with the latter, by purchasing used and overage diesel locomotives, and if the agreement is finalised, it would cause further loss to the department.

Credible sources Sunday told ‘The News’ here that a high-level railway delegation led by General Manager (Operation) went recently just after issuance of so-called tender to South Korea to acquire their overage diesel locomotives, which indicates that Railways has no regard for transparency of the tender. All expenditure of the visit was borne by a particular firm which has already spent huge amount in the past also by taking similar delegations to Korea. Moreover, the visit took place without consultation of Planning Commission and Development.

Sources added that even no PC-1 had been prepared by Pakistan Railways thus flouting totally all rules by issuing a so-called tender in the press for the locomotives without any evaluation criteria.

They further claimed that it was all being done on specific orders of the railway minister and the relevant officers had been advised to make the bidding documents as desired by that particular contractor representing South Korea. If this move was not stopped, it would add liability by adding overage locomotives in PR, claimed the sources.

Instead of venturing into such shady deals, the sources say, the authorities concerned should use that amount for urgent purchase of spare parts to repair and rehabilitate the condition of already available held-up locomotives.However, PR higher authorities, commenting on the issue, clarified that talks with South Korea were in initial stages.

PR Mechanical Engineer, Mohammad Tariq Khan stated that the purpose of the visit of Pakistani delegation to South Korea was to start a joint venture scheme. Under it, Pakistan, instead of purchasing, would acquire used locomotives from South Korea and in return, the latter would utilise PR’s infrastructure facilities like tracks, etc. In all, 50 locomotives would be acquired from South Korea under the scheme. Initially 10 locomotives would be acquired from South Korea on trial basis. On achieving positive results PR would acquire another 40 used locomotives from South Korea.

Tariq Khan noted as locomotives would be acquired without spending funds, the question of addition in PR’s liabilities did not arise at all. “All steps being taken by the railway minister are meant to revamp the condition of PR in a practical and effective manner,” he stated.

However, the talks of deal for joint venture was in initial stages, he remarked adding that in this connection a delegation of South Korea would also pay a similar visit to Pakistan to further discuss the matter before reaching a relevant conclusion regarding the agreement of the joint venture.


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