Efforts being made to enhance performance of railways: Saad

LAHORE, Jan 22 (APP): Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Sunday urged the provincial governments to give payments as per law and rules to the railways to convert unmanned level crossings into manned ones.
Speaking at a press conference here at Railways Headquarters, he said today six people had lost their precious lives in a collision between Shalimar Express and a car at unmanned level crossing near Gojra.
He said the train was running at the speed of 105-KM per hour when, unfortunately, the incident occurred.
He said under railway act 1890 installations of gates at level crossings and expenses of staff was the responsibility of the provincial governments.
He said, unfortunately, before the last three and a half years there was no scheme or project to convert unmanned level crossings into manned level crossing. He added during the  Pakistan Peoples Party tenure only seven level crossings were converted into manned level crossing.
The minister said there were some 1,150 unmanned level crossings in Punjab, 133 in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa, 504 in Sindh and 86 in Balochistan. He added Rs 25 billion were required to convert these unmanned level crossings into manned level crossing.
The provincial governments had been contacted many times so that they could extend their cooperation and play their due role in this regard, he said.
Saad added the Punjab government had given Rs 610 million for
converting unmanned level crossings into manned ones and
75 most vulnerable unmanned level crossings had been converted
into manned ones in Punjab whereas railways had also converted
five unmanned level crossings into manned ones.
The minister said more 75 level crossings would be converted into manned ones in one year.
He said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had given Rs 100 million with which 17 unmanned level crossings would be converted into manned ones.
The minister said existing standard operating procedures were being followed adding that so far no mistake of system was found.
The minister said decision had been made to implement walky talky wireless system which would help in developing communication between level crossing gatekeeper and driver besides other staff concerened.
Efforts were being made to install Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking system in locomotives which would provide  information to the driver about things coming ahead, he added.
He said reflectors would be ensured on all the boards near level crossings.
The minister said intensity of medical tests of drivers and assistant drivers had been increased and now tests would be carried out after every six months and now  medical tests of level crossings gatekeepers would also be conducted.
The minister said sincere efforts were being made to deal with all problems to enhance the maximum performance of the railways.

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