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India, Pak. officials review 1991 rail agreement


By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JAN. 17. The two-day talks between officials of the Indian and Pakistani Railways to review the 1991 Rail Communication Agreement began here today. The agreement expired in July last and the Samjhauta Express has since been running on ad-hoc extension.

In the absence of a fresh agreement, both the Governments have been unable to introduce new services, including for goods traffic, on the Delhi-Amritsar-Attari-Lahore route.

The talks are part of exploratory exchanges being held, taking into account technological improvements made in rolling stock and track design.

A bilateral agreement for rail communication between India and Pakistan was first signed in 1976. It was extended from time to time till 1991, when a fresh agreement was signed.

This accord was reviewed by the two Governments in 1994 and 1997. The 1991 agreement was valid till July 7, 2000. The two railways agreed to extend it to January 7, 2001, and then again to February 7.

According to an official release, the Railway Board Additional Member (Traffic) and head of the Indian delegation, Mr. S. S. Bhandari, said the intervening period since the 1991 agreement, had seen both the systems make impressive strides in the areas of modern technology and management.

``Our deliberations will, therefore, need to keep in mind these changes as well as the challenges faced by rail transport from other modes while framing our services to the passenger and trade.''

The Indian delegation includes Mr. Shri Prakash, Executive Director (Traffic), Mr. V. K. Manglik, E. D. (Mechanical Engineering) and Mr. R. Sivadasan, E. D. (Accounts).

The Pakistani team is headed by Mr. Abdul Qayum, Additional General Manager (Freight), Pakistan Railways.

It comprises Mr. Aurangazib Khan, Additional G.M. (Passenger), Mr. Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, Chief Traffic Manager (Freight), Mr. Asad Saeed, Chief Mechanical Engineer (Carriage) and Mohd. Saleem Bhatti (Financial Advisor).

The railway officials of India (top) and Pakistan during an official meeting to review the 1991 agreement on rail communication between the two countries at the

Rail Bhavan, in New Delhi, on Wednesday

- PTI

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