Byline: Khalid Hasnain
LAHORE -- The Pakistan Railways (PR) and its huge number of passengers found the year 2019 worst as a number of accidents, including the horrible Tezgam fire tragedy in October, exposed wrong decision-making and incompetence allegedly on the part of the management while dealing with the department's operations.
'If we recall major happenings in 2019, you may find railways its worst ever as a number of passengers, including the railway employees, died, left incapacitated or maimed. Though the year was really a sad one in view of the worst operational affairs and fatal/non-fatal accidents, the PR top management kept making tall claims of improving the department's performance,' deplores an official source who said the worst operational affairs in railways remained a matter of grave concern.
Though the PR has not yet released the official data on the total number of fatal/non-fatal accidents and derailments etc of the year 2019, the sources claim that the numbers crossed 100.
'Over 100 train-related incidents, including some fatal accidents, took place in 2019. Besides this, 111 incidents of engine failure on the way were reported within first five months of the year alone,' claimed another official source.
The main accidents, among over 100 of minor and major nature, included horrible derailment of eight wagons of a freight/container train near Rahim Yar Khan (Taranda) on April 1, derailment of a goods/container train near Padedan Station (Sindh) on May 18, derailment of Thal Express near Kundian on May 21, derailment of Jafar Express near Gujjar Khan on May 30, the fire incident in the running Jinnah Express dining car near Harappa (Sahiwal) on June 18, accidents of Jinnah Express near Hyderabad on June 20, parting of a running Pakistan Express train in two portions near Khanewal on July 11, accident of Akbar Express and a goods train at Walhar station on July 12, derailment of Zakria Express and a goods train near Kotri and Rohri stations on July 23, Tezgam train fire tragedy on Oct 30, accident of Sargodha Express with a dumper truck on Dec 10 and derailment of Jinnah Express near Lahore Railway Station on Dec 17.
'At least, 73 passengers lost their lives while over 100 were injured in Tezgam fire incident alone. Similarly, 21 people were killed and about 85 were injured in Akbar Express accident, three drivers lost their lives in Jinnah Express's Hyderabad accident while some passengers too received injuries in this...