Rs620b needed for Railways’ upgradation, says Swati

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Observer Report
Lahore

Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati on Wednesday said he needed Rs620b 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, addressing a press conference, he said, “I was at the site till the entire track was not restored,” adding 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 Rs1.5m by the government as compensation, and 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.

Swati said that it was unlikely that a fault in an eight-mile (12.87 kilometres) stretch of railway tracks was responsible for the recent train accident in Ghotki.