Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Thursday has announced compensation money for the bereaved families of the victims of Tezgam Express blaze incident in Rahim Yar Khan.

In a statement, the minister said that the government has announced to give Rs1.5 million to the deceased of the mishap while Rs0.5 million will also be handed over to the injured as compensation money.

He said that the fire was erupted in train’s economy class by a cylinder blast that occurred in the morning when passengers belonging to a Tableeghi Jamaat were preparing their breakfast. Many people saved their lives by jumping off the train, he added.

He said that bogies severely damaged by the fire have been detached by the rest of the train.

The minister continued that there is a need to strictly follow railway rules as cooking is strictly prohibited in the trains.

The injured are being given best medical treatment at burn units in Kharian and Multan whereas emergency has also been declared in all hospitals of the district, he told.

Earlier today, several passengers were killed while scores sustained burn injuries as three carriages of a Tezgam Express caught fire due to explosion in a gas stove with cylinder near Talwari Station in Liaquatpur area.

Firefighters launched a rescue operation to douse the fire whereas the affected carriages were being separated from the train.

Pakistan Army soldiers also assisted in relief and rescue efforts, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor. An army helicopter was dispatched from Multan in order to airlift the injured to hospitals.

Pakistan’s colonial-era railway network has fallen into disrepair in recent decades due to chronic under-investment and poor maintenance.