Pak wants 50 Indian engines, Railways says no
The Indian Railways remains cool to Pakistan’s proposal to take 50 train engines on lease from India. According to news reports from Islamabad, Pakistan has decided to lease 50 railway engines from India to restart defunct services. Srinand Jha reports.delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2011 10:46 IST
Rail diplomacy between India and Pakistan seems to be going offtrack.
The Indian Railways remains cool to Pakistan’s proposal to take 50 train engines on lease from India. “Domestic demand remains high. Any commitment to Pakistan at this stage would mean a compromise on domestic requirement,” said Rajeev Mehrotra, managing director of Rail India Technical and Economic Services, which supervises overseas operations.
According to news reports from Islamabad, Pakistan has decided to lease 50 railway engines from India to restart defunct services. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by its railway minister, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, last month, Urdu daily Jang reported. Bilour reportedly said Pakistan needs 200-300 locomotives.
Over 300 of Pakistan Railways’ 500 locomotives are out of order, leading to a loss of Rs 25 billion a year, authorities said.
In India, railway officials are not in favour of the deal with Pakistan, for the “corporate risk” it entails. “Relations with Pakistan being what they are, there will always remain the apprehension that India will not get its money back,” a railway ministry official said.
The officials also said they had received no official communication on the proposal while external affairs ministry officials said they had “no idea”.
The Indian Railways has 4,214 electric and 6,000 diesel engines. Two hundred engines roll out of each of its two public sector manufacturing units every year. It is massively short of its Vision 2020 target of 1,200 engines annually.
But despite this, tenders for the supply of engines to Bangladesh and Myanmar are currently being processed.
(Inputs from Jayanth Jacob)