The Energy Dilemma Reviving the Railways
Pakistan faces a serious energy crisis but is ill-prepared to tackle it though it has a burgeoning population that is growing fast. The single major outcome of the outgoing government’s lackluster performance is that the country’s industry has almost come to a standstill while the people suffer from long hours of load shedding.
Interestingly, the country has all the requisite energy producing capacity. It can meet at least the country’s current domestic and industrial needs. The problem is that the power producers find it expensive to run their power generating units as they cannot afford the fuel – the furnace oil – and produce only a portion of their capacity. Furthermore, the country’s gas reserves are also depleting. This is the main problem that PM Nawaz Sharif must address in right earnest before everything else.
It is a pity that while Pakistan inherited a very fine railway system, over the decades, this system has been allowed to rot and today it is almost at the brink of extinction. For a large and populous country, a transportation system of this nature should have always been the key. Successive governments should have taken the pains to not only preserve what we had inherited but to further expand the railway facilities as an efficient and economical means for the transportation of people and goods across the length and breadth of the country.
Somehow, this advantage has been taken up by road transportation. The worst part is that the state is slowly conceding this responsibility to the private sector and is shaking itself out of its duty to provide cogent means of transportation. It is also not realized that the railway network is also a backbone of the nation’s defence system and must be retained at all costs.