A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Railways, on briefing on the overall working and performance on Ministry of Railways and recent train accident at Ghotki, under the chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Qasim, was held at the Old PIPS hall, Parliament Lodges, Islamabad, on Monday.
The meeting commenced with the offering of prayers for the victims of the tragic incident of Ghotki. The Chairman Committee emphasised to take a briefing on the Ghotki accident to which the officials briefed the committee that Millat Express de-railed near Reti, its 12 coaches de-railed, five out of the derailed coaches capsized towards the down track, infringing the passage of down line. In the meanwhile, Sir Syed Express bound for Karachi hit the de-railed coaches of Millat Express , three coaches of Sir Syed Express derailed, up and down tracks passage was blocked as a result of the unfortunate accident. The officials said that as per latest information provided by the Chief Medical Officer Railways, 63 passengers died while 106 were injured. The official apprised the committee that the defect was in the rolling stock. The official said that the detailed inquiry has been ordered into the matter, to ascertain the exact cause of the accident.
The Minister Railways said that railways have reached this position due to wrong policies, recruitment has been given priority over business in railways, He told the committee that Rs. 80 million had not been released to improve the condition of railway wagons, which had caused a loss of Rs. 1.09 billion from these 374 railway wagons.
The Minister, Azam Swati said that the railway repair shops are not capable of repairing coaches. If coaches are repaired from railway workshops, it will be de-railed. 32 billion were spent on railway signals but the performance is zero. "I have taken this matter to Chairman Nab, Railway freight revenue will increase sharply" he said.
Swati said that the railway track from Sukkur to khanpur is being upgraded. 23 billion has been demanded from Prime Minister for 473 tracks. The Prime Minister has directed to make PC-1. The official apprised the committee that they are also trying to run Islamabad-Istanbul-Tehran Freight.
During the meeting, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed asked what action was taken on the repeated letters regarding railway accidents by the Divisional Superintendent Sukkur. Azam Swati said that the main line of Sukkur division was not in good condition but Ghotki accident occured where the track was excellent. It is not right that the railway track was damaged at the site of the accident. The Railway Minister said that work is being done on war footing as per the directive of the Prime Minister. The railway line from tando Adam to Khanpur will be upgraded. After the completion of the project, railway traffic will be able to pass at a speed of 140 kmph. He said that the revenue of railway freight would increase rapidly.
A detailed briefing on the overall working and performance of the ministry was also given by the secretary and other senior official of the railways. The officials said that new initiatives are taken for the safety, outsourcing, digitalization and governance of the railways