Short essay on Pakistan Railways

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Pakistan Railway is under the control of the government of Pakistan, it is a department of the government. This railway network has 7791 route km, 559 stations and annual revenue of approximately Rs. 20 billion (2007-08). Pakistan railways came into existence with a different name on 13th May 1861, when two stations Kotri and Karachi were connected through rail, and were 169 km apart. In the year of independence the name was changed to Northwestern Railways, it had 1108 routes km of which around 3043 was given to India. Hence Pakistan retained 8045 km. it was in 1961 that the name of the railways was changed to western railways and in 1974, finally it was named as Pakistan Railways.

The railway ministry is responsible for total control of Pakistan Railways and determines the overall policy. There are 4 directorates in PR; they are Administrative Directorate, Technical Directorate, Planning Directorate, and Finance Directorate. The railway board is the highest body for technical matters with regard to the railway. Pakistan Railways at this time is a vertically integrated organization and has in total 4 business units. These business units are Infrastructure Business Unit, Passenger Business unit, Freight Business unit and Manufacturing and Services unit, each of these units have a general manager and they look after concrete sleeper factories and carriage factories. These factories include Railway Construction Company, Pakistan Railway Advisory and consultancy services and educational facilities.

Now coming to the human resources involved in the Pakistan Railway sector, the railway has 90000 employees which consist of staff members and officers. Around 71 percent of the employees are employed in the Civil, Mechanical and Transportation departments. The higher positions are held by graduated engineers.

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In the late 1990s it was decided that some control over the Pakistan Railways would be transferred to the private sector, the general supervision and management of happenings in the Pakistan Railways is in control of the Railway board, which has been reconstituted. The new Railway board comprises of the Chairman and five other members, out of these five, three are belonging to the private sector.

The domestic transportation system in Pakistan mainly comprises of the road, rail and air. The developing economy of Pakistan is putting a lot of pressure on the transport sector. The railway sector has been unable to keep its position in the transport sector and the market share of Pakistan Railways has been falling with the passage of time. This is proven by statistics such as in in the 1970’s the annual passenger volume was 145 million but in 1992-93 it was around 59 million. Same way the freight business was around 15 million tons in in the 1960s and now it has come down to 7 million in 1992 – 93. Roads have become the more favored way to travel. A perfect example of Pakistan Railways decreasing market share is that it is only transporting only 11 percent of total petroleum products and 2 percent of the total containers. Hence what Pakistan Railway needs is professional management, and it has great potential to grow.

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