KARACHI: The Daharki train tragedy brought Pakistan Railways operations to a halt as both passengers and cargo fleet services remained suspended on the 2nd consecutive day Tuesday, resulting in a revenue loss of over Rs 120 million, top PR officials told Business Recorder.
Only three trains - Khyber Mail, Sukkur Express and Green Line departed from Karachi to their destinations, out of the total 22 passenger trains on Tuesday. The entire cargo fleet - the revenue backbone of already ailing Railway department remained suspended for two days.
"Railways suffered a revenue loss of some Rs 100 million and Rs 20 million due to suspension of cargo service, and passenger trains, respectively in the last two days," Divisional Commercial Officer (DCO) Nasir Nazir told Business Recorder at reservation office of Cantonment Station.
PR Karachi Division posted Rs 1.5 billion revenue from freight train operations in the month of May 2021.
He hoped the train service will fully resume by Wednesday after the arrival of down track vehicles.
Nazir was guiding passengers about the ticket cancellation, refund, reservations etc. A number of trains were also suspended on Monday after the tragic derailment Millat Express near Daharki in Sindh that left some 50 passengers dead and over 100 injured.
Along with their heavy luggage, passengers continue to throng to Cantt Station by auto rickshaws, taxis, and motorbikes all the day long, but on arrival, they were being informed by PR officials about the cancellation of trains.
A 100 percent refund was being given to confirmed ticket holders. Passengers who had booked ticket from the reservation office were being asked to visit the reservation office for the refund. Those who booked tickets online, were advised to cancel tickets by visiting the PR booking app and get a refund from there. "I had a ticket of Sargodha-bound Millat Express Train for today, but I have been told by the officials of ticket reservation office that the train has been cancelled," said Muhammad Saleem a resident of Faisalabad.
Economy class booking office at Cantt Station was closed as none of the officials were seen sitting on their counters when this scribe paid a detailed visit of the station, afternoon. Station Manager Muhammad Ramzan said the trains operation will resume tomorrow (Wednesday) once the Daharki track is cleared. Trains that departed yesterday and day before yesterday have not yet arrived, he said.
The officials present on the counters of Information Desk said they are updating the list of injured ones in the Daharki Train accident. However they said the final list of victims - injured and deceased is being updated by the Divisional Medical Officer Sukkur. They said the train accident has occurred in the jurisdictions Sukkur Division.
As per information released from the DS office Karachi, the Lahore and Rawalpindi-bound Trains both up and down including Allama Iqbal Express, Pakistan Express, Jinnah Express, Karakoram Express, Pak Business Express, Millat Express, Karachi Express, Tezgam, Zakaria Express and Sir Syed Express have been canceled for Tuesday on technical reasons. However, the Mehran Express from Karachi Cantt to Mirpurkhas left on time Tuesday afternoon. Green Line from Karachi Cantt to Islamabad and the Khyber Mail Express to Peshawar, while Sukkur Express via Rohri Jacobabad was set to depart at from Cantt station in night.
Veteran trade unionist Manzoor Ahmad Razi while expressing deep grief over loss of precious human lives in the Daharki train incident lashed out at the PR administration for its failure to improve Railways affairs.
He said instead holding a few low-rank officials responsible for this deadly accident, the Prime Minister, and Railway Minister should resign from their posts.
He said the train can only be the safest and cheapest public sector commuter travel service if the tracks are intact, signals are functional, coaches are in better condition, and the administration takes its ownership. He called for a detailed inquiry into the incident.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021