Stresses upgrading Sukkur track immediately
The Ghotki train crash occurred because an eight-mile-long portion of the Sukkur track was faulty, Railways Minister Azam Swati said Wednesday.
Sixty-three people were killed in the crash and 107 injured, Swati said at a press conference in Lahore. Three of the wounded passengers were in critical condition, he added.
A high-speed passenger train knifed through carriages of another express that had derailed minutes earlier near Ghotki on June 7.
"We know nothing can compensate for the loss of the bereaved," the minister said. "The government has decided to give Rs1.5 million to the families of those killed."
The injured people will be given a compensation of Rs15,000-Rs100,000.
"We have obtained black boxes of both the trains and a detailed report will be prepared within two to three days," Swati said.
The accident took place early Monday morning when four bogies of Millat Express derailed and fell on to the other track. They were hit by the oncoming Sir Syed Express. A similar accident happened in 1990.
The Sir Syed Express had one to two minutes to stop, according to the minister. During this time, some people jumped from the moving train.
He explained the faulty track was earlier repaired by the Pakistan Railways. "The department has set up a speed warning at every point where the track is weak."
Swati stressed the importance of immediately upgrading the track and the bogies. "Most of the bogies being used are nearly 40- to 50-year-old."
The Main Line-1 (ML-1) track will cost Rs60 billion and preparations for that are almost complete, according to the minister.
Swati said work will begin as soon as the tender is approved. In case of a delay, the government should give the department Rs60 billion, he added.
"We will upgrade the 520km track," the minister said. "The present track will work for 30 to 40 years and this step will have to be taken to save human lives."
The minister assured that anyone found guilty of the crash will be punished.