Wednesday Jun 09, 2021
LAHORE: Azam Khan Swati on Wednesday said he needed Rs620bn for the total upgradation of the Pakistan Railways, a few days after the fatal Ghotki train accident that claimed over 60 lives and injured over 100 passengers.
The railways minister held a press conference where he spoke about the recent Ghotki train accident.
"I was at the site till the entire track was not restored," said the minister, stating with regret that 63 people had died in the accident and 23 were being treated in hospitals for injuries.
Swati said relatives of the deceased will be given Rs1.5mn by the government as compensation, adding that every injured person will be provided Rs300,000 by authorities.
Speaking about the initial investigation report, the minister said it did not find any fault in the track. "As per the initial investigation report, the 8-mile track at the crash site was fine," he said.
Swati lamented that the railways did not have the technology to improve the tracks' conditions, adding that a massive amount was needed for the railways upgradation.
"I need Rs620bn for the total upgradation of the Pakistan Railways," he said. "Will discuss the issue of railways upgradation with the prime minister," he said, adding that if an upgradation was not carried out, more lives could be lost in future.
Azam Swati said that the investigation into the accident was underway, saying that those who were found negligible in their duties would be handed strict punishments.
"If my resignation is the appropriate substitute for the accident, then I am ready to resign," he said. "if my resignation can heal the wounds of those who lost their relatives and the injured, I say 'Bismillah' to it," added the minister.
The casualties emerged after two express trains collided on Monday in Sindh's Ghotki and killing over 60 and injuring more than 100 passengers.
The accident occurred after the coaches of one train, the Millat Express, derailed and fell across the opposite track, where they were hit by another train, the Sir Syed Express, a spokesperson for Pakistan Railways had said in a statement.
Eight bogies of Millat Express and three bogies, including the engine, of Sir Syed Express, derailed.
A rescue operation was launched some hours after the accident was reported. The injured and deceased were shifted to hospitals in Sadiqabad, Daharki and Mirpur Mathelo.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, hours after the incident took place, had expressed shock at the loss of lives from the Ghotki train accident and ordered a "comprehensive investigation" into it.
Taking to Twitter, the prime minister instructed Railways Minister Azam Swati to arrive at the site and help the injured with provision of medical assistance.
"Shocked by the horrific train accident at Ghotki early this morning leaving 30 passengers dead. Have asked Railway Minister to reach the site and ensure medical assistance to the injured and support for families of the dead. Ordering a comprehensive investigation into railway safety fault lines," he tweeted.