LAHORE: Seventy-five people were killed by moving trains while crossing over deadly the railway tracks across the country during last two years, PPI learnt on Friday. Majority of deaths took place at the unmanned railway crossing points as 68, out of total 75 deaths, were reported at unmanned crossing points.
Year-wise statistics compiled by the Pakistan Railways suggested that during year 2010 total 46 fatalities took place at the unmanned railway crossing points and 1 causality reported at manned railway crossing point all over the country.
Similarly, 90 people received injuries after being hit by moving trains at unmanned railway crossings, besides 11 others wounded at manned crossing points. During year 2011, total 22 people were crushed to death by moving trains at unmanned crossings points, besides six others killed at manned crossing points across the country.
Similarly, 55 people attempting to cross over unmanned crossing points were wounded, while another 12 were injured as trains hit them at crossing points supposed to be manned by Pakistan Railways Police personnel.
Sources in PR department blamed that unmanned railway level crossing points were responsible for deadly accidents and causalities at the tracks.
An official at the railways police station at Lahore railway station claimed at least 10 people die after being hit by trains in their station’s jurisdiction every year. But, Most of causalities take place near Shahdara, where people had encroached upon railways land along the tracks.
The officials told PPI that the Pakistan Railways had some 4,072 level crossings – 1,341 manned and 2,731 unmanned – on its 8,000 kilometers or so long operational track.
“Under Rule-122 of the Pakistan Railway Act, moving on train track from areas without railway crossing or overhead bridge is a crime. The violators are considered “trespassers”, and as per the law, any person found in violation of this rule may be fined Rs2,000 or serve six-month imprisonment or face both,” a senior Railways Police officer told PPI.
But, there was hardly a single FIR lodged against any “trespasser” despite the fact that more than 50 deaths were average reported at unmanned crossings annually.
The railways police officials said it’s impossible to ensure vigilance at 2731 unmanned points because most of the personnel were still performing duties at officers’ residences instead of police stations and kiosks. The people’s protests prevented them from taking any action as well.
They suggested the only way to stop this repeated violation was to fence the track as announced by the then Federal Railways Minister Shiekh Rashid Ahmed back in 2007.