Islamabad: Pakistan Railways has punished as many as 1,218 staffers who were found guilty of different train accidents across the country from 2003 to 2018.
According to available official document, during these years, the department removed 24 officials from service, 16 staffers were dismissed from service, 36 persons compulsory retired from service, 189 persons were demoted, 723 officials were punished with withholding of increment, 171 persons censured, 45 issued warning while 14 staffers expired.
To control the train derailments and accidents, Pakistan Railways was going to up-grade unmanned and vulnerable railway level crossings across the country in collaboration with respective provincial governments.
Timely refresher courses and safety seminars were also being arranged to enhance the professional knowledge of the staff and auto train protection system was also underway to minimize such accidents as this system applies brake automatically if the drivers of train fail to respond to red signal.
According to guidelines, a professional knowledge testing schedule should be observed after every six months for drivers particularly of Multan, Lahore, Sukkur, and Karachi divisions working with auto block signalling, the document said.
Joint certificate to this effect would be issued by the Divisional Signal Engineer and Divisional Mechanical Engineer certifying competency of driver especially regarding the knowledge of auto block signalling.
Road surface of all level crossings was being improved together with improved warning boards and provision of reliable communication (VHF radio) between ground staff and locomotives crew.
The Directorate of Public Relations had produced video messages for circulations over social media to inform the public about the dangers associated with railway crossings, it said. Pakistan Railways was going to eliminate all level crossings on Main Line-I (Karachi to Peshawar) by providing under passes and flyovers under China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Railways Police: Pakistan Railways Police is facing around 1,779 personnel of different cadres against the sanctioned posts and the Ministry of Railways is trying to fill the vacant posts at the earliest.
“Executive Staff (Uniform) has sanctioned strength of 7,043 posts but presently around 5,315 are working and the department is facing deficiency of 1728 personnel in this category,” sources in the Ministry told APP. Giving detail of the other cadres, they said that sanctioned posts of the ministerial staff are 150 but currently 119 officials are working and facing shortage of 31 personnel.
The sources said as many as 11 personnel were working in the Bomb Disposal section against the approved strength of 24, which shows shortage of 13 personnel, adding that 55 officials were working against the sanctioned strength of 62 personnel of Class-IV.
Regarding the duties of the Pakistan Railways Police, they said that protection of railway property, crime control, maintenance of law and order, counter terrorism, assistance to railway passengers and labour union activities were the prime responsibility of the railway police.
They said according to SRO (1)/2016, the Ministry of Railways, The territorial limits within which Pakistan Railways Police would perform its functions would extend over the entire infrastructure of Pakistan Railways throughout the country including residential colonies, dwelling houses and barracks of the railways servants and any other property on the land belonging to the organization but excluding the railway track beyond station limits.