ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Wednesday that disciplinary measures were taken against 37 employees of the Pakistan Railways (PR), most of them low-ranking workers, after being found responsible for 25 fatal or other serious accidents since May 2013, that is, during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.
Speaking during the question hour, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq provided details of the accidents occurring between May 2013 and December 2016, and expressed dissatisfaction over the disciplinary measures taken against the employees held responsible for the accidents. He was of the view that the employees in question were let off rather lightly.
Of the 37 employees who faced disciplinary action only two were officials — a chief controller and a deputy chief controller — whose increments were withheld for four years.
The list of the 37 employees provided to the house revealed that nine drivers were involved in accidents. Of them, one driver died while two drivers were given warnings, three were demoted, one had to retire and two were still awaiting punitive measures.
Increments of four station or assistant station masters were withheld. Increments of some inspectors, cabin men, signal inspectors, signal engineers, train examiners, loco foremen and postmen were also withheld.
Out of the 25 serious accidents, 17 occurred due to errors on the part of PR employees, seven due to sabotage and one due to calamity. In the 17 accidents caused due to errors on the part of railway employees, 94 passengers lost their lives and 413 others were injured.
In 2013, Rs200,000 was paid to heirs of each deceased passenger, while a total of Rs1.9 million was paid to the 55 injured passengers.
In 2014, Rs9m was paid to heirs of the 17 deceased passengers and Rs5.3m to the 80 injured passengers. In 2015, Rs30.4m was paid to family members of the 38 deceased passengers and Rs8.64m to the 151 injured passengers. In 2016, Rs21.5m was paid to heirs of the 34 deceased passengers and Rs3.82m to the 127 injured passengers.
Mr Rafiq said that locomotive drivers had now been asked to undergo mandatory medical tests twice a year.