Six employees of Pakistan Railways, including two 18-grade officers, were placed on administrative leave on Tuesday as a result of the Hazara Express derailment in Nawabshah last week, which resulted in at least 30 fatalities and several injuries.
In Sindh’s Sanghar district, ten bogies of the Havelian-bound Hazara Express derailed on Sunday, with Pakistan Railways (PR) officials attributing the derailment to a broken railway line and a hot axle that prevented movement.
Saad Rafique, the minister of railways, had cautioned that it was impossible to completely rule out the potential of sabotage or a mechanical issue. He also deemed the railway track to be in good condition.
A six-person team was later assembled to investigate the crash.
In a notification released today, the Ministry of Railways stated that six officers had been suspended in connection with the disaster in accordance with Rule-5 of the Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020, with “immediate effect” and until further orders.
A divisional executive engineer from Sukkur, a manager of a diesel workshop in Karachi, an assistant executive engineer from Nawabshah, a permanent way officer from Shahdadpur, a power controller for Kotri, and a keyman were among the aforementioned authorities.
The notification, a copy of which is available at Dawn.com, also said that the decision has the approval of the chairman of the Railways.
The suspension comes a day after a government investigation into the collision found that the Hazara Express’s derailment was caused by a lack of fishplates and a broken track.
According to the report, “[the] accident occurred] due to fresh rail broke and fishplates missing,” after thoroughly investigating all the factors.
The panel also determined that the locomotive’s sliding was a contributing factor in the derailment.
According to the report, the train engine fled the scene before being checked up by senior employees. Beyond the accident point, “little hitting spots” were discovered on the wooden terminal and iron fishplates. Therefore, it stated, “the engineering branch and mechanical branch are held accountable for this accident.”
According to the document, sabotage cannot be discounted because the derailed carriages were pulled 750 feet. The report also included two notes from dissidents.
A PR representative stated that the study was only the “very initial probe report” because the final one would take more time to create.
“A thorough investigation in this regard is underway,” he insisted. “The Federal Government Inspector of Railways (a grade 22 officer) is on-site to determine the cause of this tragedy.”
Meanwhile, Khawaja Saad Rafique, the minister of railways, has denied reports that wooden pieces were used to fasten the train’s bogies.
The minister emphasized two elements in his speech to the National Assembly today that led to the tragedy and the deaths it caused.
“First, lubricants were used to unclog the two locomotive wheels that were stuck behind the engine. As a safety measure, these locomotives ought to have been completely removed, the minister stated.
Tuesday’s National Assembly session features remarks by Khawaja Saad Rafique, the minister of railroads. The DawnNewsTV
He clarified that the second element was a defect in the rail top that made the issue worse.
The minister promised that a thorough report on the incident will be available in a matter of days after sharing that a preliminary investigation had resulted in the suspension of six personnel.
He stressed that a section of the railway track between Rohri and Kotri had become problematic because of its deteriorating state, and he proposed that an investment of between Rs10 billion and Rs12 billion might be able to fix the problem. He advised the new administration to think about allocating the funding to stop similar crashes from happening again.
The minister also stated that each deceased person’s heirs will receive Rs1.5 million in compensation from the government, although she emphasized that this was not a sufficient remedy.
Rafique also emphasized the value of making investments in the railway industry to ensure its smooth operation.