ISLAMABAD: Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati on Monday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Railways that railway tracks were being upgraded on a war footing.
He said the prime minister, who had been requested for Rs23 billion funds to fix 473km of dangerous track, had directed the relevant officials to submit PC-1 for the release of funds.
As per the PM’s directive, the railway line from Tando Adam to Khanpur would be upgraded to enable railway traffic to pass at a speed of 140km per hour.
Briefing the Senate committee on the Ghotki accident, railways officials said defect had been identified in the rolling stock, and a detailed inquiry had been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of the accident.
When Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed asked about the action taken on the letters written by the divisional superintendent of railways in Sukkur about railway accidents, Mr Swati admitted that the main line of Sukkur division was not in good condition, but insisted that the Ghotki accident occurred at a place where the track was in excellent condition.
The minsiter disclosed that the government had not released Rs80m to improve condition of wagons, which caused a loss of Rs1.09bn. He said the railway workshops were not capable of repairing coaches, while Rs32 billion had been spent on railways’ signal system. “I have taken this matter to NAB chairman. Hopefully, revenue from freight service will rise sharply,” he remarked.
In a detailed briefing, the railways secretary and senior officials said that initiatives were being taken for safety, outsourcing, digitalisation and better governance of the organisation.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021