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AGP Uncovers Rs97b Worth Of Irregularities In Pakistan Railways

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ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has identified billions of rupees worth of irregularities in Pakistan Railways by exposing glaring mismanagement within the state-run entity that continues to incur maximum losses on the national exchequer.

The AGP pointed out irregularities worth Rs97 billion in his audit report for 2018-19. As a result, the auditor general directed the Railways authorities to take strict action against those found responsible for incurring such massive losses on the national kitty.

According to the report, Pakistan Railways generated Rs49.6 billion in the last fiscal year against operational costs of Rs85.5 billion. Due to this reason, the entity registered a loss of Rs36.6 billion.

Objections pertaining to 56 percent of Railways lands, around 20 per cent to recoveries and 12 per cent in relation to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) were also shared in the audit report. Other losses faced by the Railways were related to theft, financial irregularities, and embezzlement.

The report further noted that a whopping Rs51 billion worth of Railways land was encroached upon by land grabbers. It pointed out that a ‘private mafia’ was busy occupying 18 prime Railways sites in Karachi from the past several years.

It also revealed that the Sindh government has been illegally leasing out Railways lands to private partners who constructed multi-story commercial buildings on these properties. In the report, the AGP blamed the Pakistan Railways management for losing prime Railways land due to ‘incompetence’.

Moreover, the report stated that Pakistan Railways suffered a loss of nearly Rs15 billion due to the failure of its management to recover outstanding dues from other federal government wings, including the Port Qasim Authority, Pakistan Post, Water and Power Development Authority and the departments of irrigation, food and education, along with the provincial and district authorities.

Meanwhile, the report revealed that mismanagement in the railways ministry had cost a PSDP project Rs10.5 billion. It further stated that the Railways administration had granted a contract amounting to Rs3.2 billion in violation of PPRA rules.

The Railways authorities have also failed to recover Rs2.6 billion from the provincial governments to repair level crossings while also wasting an additional Rs2 billion worth of scrap material, the report added.

In addition, constant delays in the repair of damaged railway coaches also incurred losses of Rs2 billion on the state-run service, the report noted. It also mentioned Rs380 million worth of fake expenditure in the repair process.

In his report, the AGP severely criticised Railway authorities for losing Rs3.8 billion due to the lethargic attitude of officials while auctioning off Railways roads. It merits mention here that the Railways authorities failed to provide the record of five cases to the auditor general.

At the administrative level, irregularities amounting to Rs52 billion were identified in the state-run entity, per the audit report. It also mentioned that additional losses of Rs50 billion were incurred due to embezzlement, fraud and theft, while around Rs6.5 billion were lost due to the violation of PPRA rules.

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