WAZIRABAD

Delay in the reconstruction of a railway bridge, which had fallen in lower Chenab Canal near Jamki Chattha claiming 17 lives, has been causing severe inconvenience to the local people and financial loss to the Railways Department since the accident took place two weeks ago.

The bridge fall had caused the closure of Wazirabad-Faisalabad Section, and change of the route of Pakistan Express from main line to another section. Four bogies and one engine were also damaged due to the accident and the same are still lying on the site while 15 police cops have been guarding the wreckage near Wazirabad.

The bridge collapsed while a special train was passing through it. After derailing, the four bogies and one engine of the train had fallen in the canal causing death of 17 people on July 2, 2015. Since the accident, the damaged bogies and the engine could not be removed from the site.

Since then, Wazirabad-Faisalabad Section is closed Railways engineers had claimed the restoration of the rail traffic within two weeks but the progress in this regard is zero. Pakistan Express ran via Sangla Hill and Shahdra only for a few days and later its route was changed to Rawalpindi to Faissalabad via Lala Musa, Malkwal, Sangodha, Chiniot and Chak Jhumra.

The train on the new route is not profitable for the department, the local people said. Almost 400 passengers get affected daily while the Railways faces a loss of Rs15 million per month only from Gujrat and Wazirabad due to change in the route. In addition, the Railways administration has cancelled all the seat quotas of Gujrat, Wazirabad, Hafizabad, Alipur Chattha, Gujranwala and Sangla Hill.

One compartment was reserved for Wazirabad and one for Gujrat which has been shifted to Rawalpindi. The quota of Sangla Hill of 21 births and 6 seats has been awarded to Lalamusa. The quota of same strength for Alipur Chatha has been transferred to Jhelum; and 6 births and 2 seats quota for Sukheki was shifted to Gujjar Khan.

Gujrat and Gujranwala get reservation of births and seat online which creates a number of problems and cause disputes between the passengers. The people from Bhimber (AJK), Sialkot, Jalalpur Jattan, Hafizabad and Gujranwala in addition to dozens of villages get reservation benefits from Gujrat and Wazirabad points while the reservation facility in Tezgam has already been cancelled and no other train is available at their nearest approachable station like Gujrat, Wazirabad or Gujranwala.

A number of passengers and representatives of traders demanded restoration of the previous route of Pakistan Express forthwith. Removal of a profitable train from main line is not justified, they said and demanded restoration of Wazirabad-Faisalabad Section route and immediate reconstruction of the collapsed bridge.