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June 12, 2021

Train tragedy

 
June 12, 2021

This refers to the news report ‘Dharki train tragedy: Azam Swati suspends six negligent officers’ (June 10). Federal Minister for Pakistan Railways Azam Khan Swati informs that he needs Rs620 billion (approximately $4 billion) to fully upgrade the railways. On the other hand, the ML-1 project, which will be completed with Chinese assistance and is already approved by the government, is estimated to cost $6.2 billion. The disparity in cost is a bit confusing. Has the government revised the project’s feasibility study? Has the authorities lowered the total cost of the project? With the railways on the verge of collapse, rehabilitation/upgradation is unavoidable to prevent horrific accidents and transform the organization into a safe, economical and comfortable mode of travel for those who cannot afford to travel by air.

Defending his decision to not resign following the latest accident, the minister had earlier said that if his resignation solved any problem, he was ready to resign. He added, “if my resignation can heal the wounds of those who lost their relatives and the injured”, he wouldn’t hesitate to do so. But this justification also applies to the six people who were suspended. According to the minister, the track was dilapidated. The onus is on the minister for not making enough effort to mobilize funds and get the project started.

Erum A Majeed

Karachi