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Government should take a serious note of Pakistan Railways operation: SC

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court (SC) Thursday directed the Pakistan Railways to take immediate measures to make journey by train safer for the passengers.

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan heard the case regarding colossal losses incurred by Pakistan Railways.

During the course of proceedings, a report was submitted by the railways ministry secretary/chairman, wherein, reference had been made for the up-gradation of Railways through ML-I, under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and also for the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR). 

He informed the court about the ML-I project that the PC-I was now pending with Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for the approval and as soon as the said approval was received, work would be started.

The bench said ECNEC should consider the PC-I as per rules within a period of one month. 

Regarding KCR, the court was informed that considerable work on the ground had been done and there were bottlenecks because of a Nala near Urdu University and Green Line near Nazimabad. 

The railways secretary said if the Sindh government took immediate action and paved the way for Railways at those two bottlenecks, the remaining work of the KCR would be completed and made operational. 

The railways secretary also said there were railway crossings at which the Sindh government had undertaken to provide for construction of either overhead or underground roads/paths, so that there was no eventuality of any one crossing the railway line. 

The court directed the Sindh chief secretary to ensure the completion of three piece of works expeditiously so that the KCR could be enabled to run in Karachi. 

The court directed the Sindh chief secretary to submit report regarding the KCR within a period of two weeks.

The court also summoned the Sindh chief secretary, commissioner Karachi to appear on the next date of hearing.

The bench noted that the overall Railways in Pakistan was not being operated in a way it should be operated; more so, in accordance with the rules and manuals of railways, on account of which accidents were taking place frequently, in which precious lives were being lost and great damage to the railways was caused.

There seems to be nothing in sight by which the operation of the railways in Pakistan could be improved, as not only was the infrastructure of the railways altogether bad and non-workable but also its employees were apparently not fit to operate the railways, it added. 

The bench said the federal government should take a serious note of Pakistan Railways operation and overhauling and ensure a safe journey by train in the country.

“We expect that such measures will be taken by the federal government immediately to ensure that the Railways does not play with the lives of the people and its properties are not lost,” Justice Gulzar said.

The court directed the Planning Commission to submit a report in that regard within one month and adjourned the hearing of the case.

Text of order:

A report has been submitted by the Secretary/Chairman, Ministry of Railways, Islamabad, wherein, reference has been made to the up-gradation of Railways trough ML-I, under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and also to the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

HRC No.13316-P of 2018 2 2. As regards ML-I, it is informed that PC-I is now pending with ECNIC for approval and as soon as the said approval is received, work will be started.

We expect that ECNIC shall consider and have PC-I approved, as per rules within a period of one month.

  1. As regards KCR, it has been stated that considerable work on the ground has been done and that there are bottlenecks because of a Nala near Urdu University and Green Line near Nazimabad.

The Secretary Railways states that if the Government of Sindh takes immediate action and makes way for the Railways at these two bottlenecks, the remaining work of KCR will be completed and it will be made operational.

  1. The Secretary Railways also states that there are railway crossings at which the Government of Sindh has undertaken to provide for construction of either overhead or underground roads/paths, so that there is no eventuality of any one crossing the railway line.
  2. We direct the Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh to ensure that the above three items of work are expeditiously completed to enable KCR to run in Karachi.

Let a report, in this regard, be submitted by the Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh within a period of two weeks.

The Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh so also the Commissioner, Karachi shall be present on the next date of hearing.

  1. We have noted that the overall Railways in Pakistan is not being operated in a way it should be operated; more so, in accordance with the Rules and Manuals of Railways, on account of which accidents are taking place frequently, in which precious lives are being HRC No.13316-P of 2018 3 lost and great damage to the Railways is caused.

There seems to be nothing in sight by which the operation of the Railways in Pakistan could be improved, as not only is the infrastructure of the Railways altogether bad and non-workable but also its employees are apparently not fit to operate the Railways.

There needs to be serious thinking on the part of the Government of Pakistan regarding the operation of the Pakistan Railways and overhauling the Secretariat from top to bottom to ensure that the Railways operate in Pakistan safely.

We expect that such measures will be taken by the Government of Pakistan immediately to ensure that the Railways do not play with the lives of the people and its properties are not lost.

A report, in this regard, may be made available to the Court by the Government of Pakistan through the Planning Commission within one month.

  1. Adjourned. To be fixed after one month.
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