FAISALABAD: Pakistan Railway administration seems least concerned about the passengers security as the luggage scanning machine at the local railway station has been lying non-functional for more than eight months.

This negligence by the PR authorities concerned becomes more glaring during the days ahead of Eid when the railway station witnesses unusual influx of passengers entering and leaving the city to celebrate the festive occasion with their families.

Usually, on such occasions the security of public places is heightened to avert any act of sabotage, but despite passage of eight months nobody bothered to look into the issue and resolve it ahead of Eid.

Because of the non-functional machine, the passengers could be witnessed entering and leaving the station without any thorough scanning of their luggage.

Talking to Dawn, Noor Elahi, who travelled from Peshawar to Faisalabad through different routes, said he preferred train because it was considered a cheap and relatively safe mode of travel. “However, in Pakistan railway’s importance had been ignored and passengers are denied facilities and even security,” he regretted.

A railway station guard said physical frisking of each passenger was not possible humanly possible, especially on occasions like Eid when a large number of people visit the station.

He added the scanning machine had been installed at the railway station keeping in view the heavy influx of passengers but because of lack of maintenance it developed some fault that nobody bothered to get removed to make it functional.

He said the scanning machine was an effective gadget to check transportation of any illegal stuff like drugs, weapons and explosive material. He also cited incidents where criminals were nabbed because of the scanner that detected drugs and weapons in their luggage.

Railway officials, seeking anonymity, said it was the sole responsibility of the railway headquarters to get the scanning machine repaired. They claimed that the headquarters had been repeatedly requested to get the job done but of no avail.

They regretted that despite their timely intimation, in case of any untoward incident occurring there, the railway station staff would be immediately made a scapegoat for “showing negligence”.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2019