About 150 railway crossings without gates across Sialkot district pose a threat to the people's lives, it is learnt.
These crossings are located at a railway track from Sialkot to Wazirabad via Sambrial and from Sialkot to Pasrur including various congested areas of Sialkot city and Uggoki, Saahowala, Sambrial, Begowala, Adalatgarha, Alhar, Chawinda and Pasrur. Most of the 100-km railway track from Sialkot to Narowal has gained rust. Hundreds of vehicles and donkey carts pass through these gates-less crossings. Dozens of people have lost their lives and a number of others have sustained serious injuries in several fatal accidents on these crossings during a few years. Few days ago, two real brothers were crushed to death under the wheels of a railway engine while crossing near Uggoki.
Local social, religious, political and business circles have expressed grave concern over this nasty situation. They said that maintenance is the duty of the Pakistan Railways. They said that they had repeated brought the situation into the notice of the high officials of Pakistan Railway but to no avail.
On the other hand, 104 years-old railway track between Sialkot and neighbouring Occupied Jammu & Kashmir has rusted. No proper attention has ever been paid to the rehabilitation of the railway track to interlink the people from both the sides by re-starting 30-year suspended train services from Sialkot to Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
The high weeds and grass have captured the rusted track which has also vanished from various spots. Sialkot business community was of the view that the reopening of the railway track would beef up bilateral trade activities between Sialkot and held Kashmir region through Sucheetgarh.
According to the Sialkot based officials of Pakistan Railways, the PR has conducted a detailed survey of the rusted railway track for the proposed re-launch of the train service. The PR surveying teams have declared the track as completely useless and proposed the laying of new track which may cost billions of rupees., he said and added that thus, the Pakistan Railways had dropped the plan due to unavailability of funds.
Moreover, the 130-year building of Cantt Railways Station is also in very miserable condition as rising heaps of trash could be seen everywhere in the building, which has no doors and windowpanes. The local people have converted the building into a filth depot. Some thee decades ago, the railway station was closed down by the PR. The station is located only a distance of three kilometres from Sialkot City Junction.
An urgent attention by the PR concerned officials should be helpful in proper utilisation of this dilapidating building of Sialkot Cantt railway station. The railway station became ineffective after the suspension of the train service. The people from both the sides urged the federal government to ensure early restoration of the railway station.