SIALKOT

There are 150 railway crossings having no gates in Sialkot district due to which any mishap could occur at such points, it is learnt. Officials of Pakistan Railways requesting anonymity said that these crossings were 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.

The PR officials revealed that there was more than 100km railway track from Sialkot to Narowal, now most of the track was rusting. There was no gate since the establishment of these railway crossings, they added. Hundreds of the vehicles and donkey-carts pass through these railway crossings. Dozens of the people have lost their lives and sustained serious injuries in several fatal accidents on these railway crossings during a few years.

Local social, religious, political and business circles have expressed grave concern over the situation. They said that affixing the gate on these railway crossings was the duty of the Pakistan Railways (PR). They said that they had repeatedly brought the situation into the notice of the high ranking officials of Pakistan Railway (PR) but they had done nothing in practical for early affixation of the gates.

On the other hand, 110-year-old railway track between Sialkot and neighbouring Occupied Jammu & Kashmir has been rusting as no proper attention has ever been paid towards the rehabilitation of this railway track. The high weeds, grass and soil have badly captured this rusted railway track which has also vanished from various spots.

Sialkot business community was of the view that the reopening of this railway track would boom up the bilateral trade activities between Sialkot and Held Kashmir region through Sucheetgarh.The officials said the PR had conducted a detailed survey of the rusted railway track for the proposed re-launch of the train service between Sialkot and Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The PR surveying teams had declared this rusted railway track completely useless and had proposed laying the all the new track, costing billions of rupees. On this, the Pakistan Railways dropped this planning of re-opening of this railway track due to non-availability of the funds.

Meanwhile, ancient building of Sialkot Cantt Railway Station is also in very miserable condition due to the alleged slackness and height of negligence of concerned officials of Pakistan Railways (PR), as the rising trash heaps could be seen everywhere in this building. It has no doors, windows and other facilities. Local people have converted the prolonged neglected railway station building into a filth depot. Some three decades ago, this railway station was closed by the PR and since then the Pak Army personnel have been deprived of the facility from Sialkot Cantt railway station.

Some influential people have already taken away the railway track of junction lines, besides, converting the shabby platforms of this railway station into fields. This railway station was located on the Sialkot-Occupied Jammu railway track and it became ineffective after the suspension of train service between Sialkot and Occupied Jammu and Kashmir after the creation of Pakistan.