KARACHI - Private railway operators are allegedly violating their contract with Pakistan Railways by overcharging passengers of the private train.
As the private train named Pak Business Express is set to start its operation between Lahore and Karachi from Friday (today), sources privy to the contract claimed foul play on the part of contractors.
Sources said contractors are charging Rs 5,000 per ticket from passengers instead of the agreed Rs 3,600. “This is overcharging and in violation of the agreed terms and conditions,” said a railway officer requesting not to be named.
The officer said all the 70 percent passengers who had reserved seats in the private train, which would the running from Lahore, have paid the same amount. The train is said to be the brainchild of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry. Moreover, the unionists in Pakistan Railways are concerned that starting the Pak Business Express might lead to complete privatisation of the railways that, they fear, might eventuate in future layoffs. “We shall lodge our protest at the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station on Saturday (tomorrow),” Muqaddar Zaman, a labourer leader at the Railways and the Information Secretary of a non-governmental organisation UK World told Pakistan Today on Thursday.
The unionist claimed that the private train was part of a conspiracy hatched by the deficient bureaucracy of the Railways to privatise the Pakistan Railways through gradual induction of private investors. Zaman demanded authorities concerned at the Railways to stop the ongoing process of privatisation that is the cause of a sense of insecurity among the Railways employees. He also demanded setting up a quota in the private train for the Railways employees, journalists, senior citizens and disabled persons. “Such private trains are being run to further facilitate the rich, while nothing is being done to address the plight of the poor,” the labour leader said.