Railways mulls covering level crossings all over country
By Khawaja Naseer
LAHORE Pakistan Railways (PR) has proposed to cover countrywide level crossings with its own resources and a proposal for this has been forwarded to the ministry for approval.
Federal Government Inspector of Railways (FGIR) Saleemur Rehman Akhund told Daily Times on Saturday that the nature of every accident was different but level crossings have turned out to be the major cause of accidents during the last two years.
To tackle the problem of unmanned crossings, the railways establishment had chalked out a policy through which some heavy traffic crossings would be erected with electrical gates by the department itself. He said the proposal had been forwarded to the ministry for final approval.
The FGIR said that there were around 2,300 level crossings and it was financially difficult for the department to install gates at every crossing. Confirming the details about the train accidents, Mr Akhund said that the number of accidents causing death was higher but mostly unidentified people had died due to their own negligence. No electrical gates at the 2,300 railway level crossings across the country caused 56 deaths in the last two years. Other factors, including derailments, bridge collapses and train collisions also contributed to 17 deaths during the same period.
Railways sources while giving the number of casualties in train accidents between 1991 to July 2001, said that 313 passengers died, 1,021 were injured or disabled, while 18 employees of the Pakistan Railways died, 86 were injured, 181 others died in accident and 423 were injured. Mr Akhund said that the railways would be responsible for accidents that took place at the gates that were supervised by the department’s staff. He said information about staff that had been dismissed due to negligence in tragic accidents was normally available at the concerned divisional level offices. The headquarters only kept the details of major accidents, he added.
Talking about the Malikwal accident, Mr Akhund said that a bus driver was responsible for it. He said that an inquiry into the Tando Adam derailment accident was continuing and blaming anyone before it was completed was difficult. However, the interim report of the accident had been forwarded to the ministry, he said while refusing to further comment on the issue.