Six Railway Employees Have Been Fired In Relation With The Tragic Hazara Express
August 8, 2023 / By Zunair Tahir / Pakistan News
Six employees of Pakistan Railways, including two 18-grade officers, were placed on administrative leave on Tuesday as a result of the Hazara Express disaster in Nawabshah last week, which resulted in at least 30 fatalities and several injuries.
In Sindh’s Sanghar district, ten bogies of the Havelian-bound Hazara Express derailed on Sunday, with Pakistan Railways (PR) authorities attributing the derailment on a broken railway line and a hot axle that prevented movement.
Saad Rafique, the minister of railways, had cautioned that it was impossible to completely rule out the potential of sabotage or a technical issue. He also deemed the railway track to be in good condition.
A six-person team was later assembled to investigate the incident.
In a notification released today, the Ministry of Railways stated that six officers had been suspended in connection with the disaster in accordance with Rule-5 of the Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020, with “immediate effect” and until further instructions.
A divisional executive engineer from Sukkur, a manager of a diesel workshop in Karachi, an assistant executive engineer from Nawabshah, a permanent way officer from Shahdadpur, a power controller for Kotri, and a keyman were among the aforementioned authorities.
The suspension comes a day after a government investigation into the collision found that the Hazara Express’s derailment was caused by a lack of fishplates and a broken track.
According to the study, “[the] accident occurred] due to fresh rail broken and fishplates missing,” after thoroughly investigating all the factors.
The panel also determined that the locomotive’s sliding was a contributing factor in the disaster.
The railway engine had already departed the area without being checked by superiors. Beyond the accident location, “little hitting spots” were discovered on the wooden terminal and iron fishplates. Therefore, it stated, “the engineering branch and mechanical branch are held accountable for this accident.”
According to the paper, sabotage cannot be discounted because the derailed carriages were pulled 750 feet.
“A thorough investigation in this regard is underway,” he insisted. “The Federal Government Inspector of Railways (a grade 22 officer) is on-site to determine the cause of this tragedy.”
Meanwhile, Khawaja Saad Rafique, the minister of railways, has denied reports that wooden pieces were used to fasten the train’s bogies.
The minister emphasized two elements in his speech to the National Assembly today that led to the tragedy and the deaths it caused.
“First, lubricants were used to unclog the two locomotive wheels that were stuck behind the engine. As a safety measure, these locomotives ought to have been completely removed, the minister stated.
He stressed that a section of the railway track between Rohri and Kotri had become problematic because of its deteriorating state, and he proposed that an investment of between Rs10 billion and Rs12 billion could be able to fix the problem. He advised the next administration to think about allocating the funding to stop similar collapses from happening again.
The minister also stated that each deceased person’s heirs will get Rs1.5 million in compensation from the government, although she emphasized that this was not a sufficient remedy.
Rafique also emphasized the need of making investments in the railway industry to ensure its smooth functioning.
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