–Former railways minister says security protocols have been breached
KARACHI: Railway traffic remained disrupted on Sunday, two days after passenger train Jinnah Express train rammed into a stationary freight train near Hyderabad on Thursday.
According to Railway sources, the Karachi Express will depart from Karachi’s Cantt Station for Lahore at 9;15 pm after a delay of 5 hours.
The Tezgam Express will depart at 7:30 pm from Karachi Cantt Station after a delay of two hours, said sources.
Similarly, Millat Express and Sukkur Express are also facing delays.
At least three people, a train driver and two assistant drivers, were killed and several others injured after a passenger train collided with a freight train near Hyderabad on Thursday.
Sources said that Lahore bound Jinnah Express, which had departed from Karachi collided with a stationary freight train in the limits of Maki Shah police station in Hyderabad. The cargo train was carrying coal to Yusufwala.
Three coaches of the freight train derailed due to the impact of the collision while the engine of a passenger train caught fire after the incident, the sources added.
Investigators in their initial probe suspected that it occurred because of negligence on the part of the driver and assistant driver of a passenger train that rammed into a coal-laden goods train near Hyderabad.
ACCIDENTS DUE TO ADDITIONAL TRAINS
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) legislator and former railways’ minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique condemned hike in railway fares and also criticised increasing incidents of rail accidents.
While addressing media outside the Parliament House, the PML-N leader alleged that the present government has stopped the development of the Pakistan Railways.
“PML-N had increased railway revenue up to Rs50 billion while its annual development budget was reached to Rs40 billion,” said Rafique.
He criticised that the present government has allocated only Rs16 billion development budget for railways while its estimated deficit was recorded up to Rs39 billion.
The former railways’ minister blamed additional trains for an increasing number of rail accidents. He alleged, “Railways Minister has compromised SOPs of rail security. He [Sheikh Rasheed] runs Dhabeji Express only to please President [Dr Arif Alvi].”
“The fuel reserves of Pakistan Railways was up to 20 days during the PML-N’s era, whereas, it has been reduced to only three days.”
“The present government jacked up railway fares, whereas, it was increased up to 7 per cent two days ago. It should be kept into mind that Rs100 billion needed to be allocated in the budget for Pakistan Railways.”
He claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government was lying with the nation regarding ML-1 project as it was only a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) but not an agreement signed with China.