Karachi train accident: driver, assistant showed negligence, NA body told

The initial findings of recent train accident in Karachi revealed sheer negligence of the driver and his assistant that resulted in killing of 22 passengers.

Besides, the human loss, the accident incurred accumulative loss of Rs 130 million to locomotive, wagons and tracks. This was revealed by Railways officials during briefing to National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways that held here on Wednesday with Naveed Qamar in the chair.

The officials briefed the panel about train accidents, occurred during the last three years along with causes/reasons. The Railways Ministry presented a provisional report on the recent train accidents in Karachi and said the matter was under investigation and complete final report would be submitted to the committee before the next meeting.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the detailed report into the accident was likely to be completed in next five days. However, it has been identified that the train was over speeding, crossed yellow as well as red signal.

He further said that according to the driver and assistant driver, a sudden darkness came before their eyes however; it was under investigation that how darkness came at the same time. Further, both jumped from the train which was against their duties and they should have been there.

Both driver and assistant driver were busy in some talking or other matters which is under investigation. Further, it would be investigated whether drivers applied emergency brakes or not.

Railways officials said locomotives as well as signalling system was without any problem. The accident caused Rs 80 million to locomotives, Rs 45 million to wagons/stocks and Rs 7.5 million to tracks.

The minister said that inquiry and investigation system for trains’ accidents was being revised. Strict punishment would be given to responsible persons and they would not come under any blackmailing.

It was also informed that the 50 percent of the accidents caused due to unmanned level crossing and unauthorised Railways crossing.

It was further stated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh provinces were not extending cooperation to convert level crossing to manned crossing. Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) level crossing on main line one from Peshawar to Karachi would be closed.

The committee heard the views on issue of Royal Palm Golf and Country Club from the ministry and representatives of the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club.

The committee directed the ministry to provide the complete details of advertisement for inviting the bidders for leasing the said land/club, the procedure adopted for short listing of the bidders, and the terms of the conditions of lease agreement along with other relevant materials as the ministry may deem fit to the committee before the next meeting.

Syed Muhammad Saqlain Bukhari, Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Dr Nisar Ahmad Jatt and Ramesh Lal, MNAs attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the Minister for Railways, senior officers of the Ministry of Railways and representative of the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club.

-Business Recorder