The Railways ministry has included 421 officers and employees — from grade-1 to grade-18 — of its accounts department in the pool of surplus workers to overcome its losses.
It issued a notification on Saturday in this connection for the employees working in all its eight divisions countrywide.
In response, the employees of the accounts department announced a nationwide strike from July 12.
They have refused to prepare salaries before Eidul Azha.
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They staged a protest outside the offices of the Railways chairman and general manager.
The employees added to the pool include 267 senior auditors, 56 assistant accounts officers, 26 four accounts officers, four junior auditors, two assistant private secretaries, three cleaning staffers and two watchmen.
In another development, trains are hit by delays due to the negligence of the Railways authorities.
The Karakoram Express train from Lahore to Karachi will leave at 8:15pm instead of 3pm with a delay of five hours.
The Pak Business Express train will leave Lahore for Karachi at 6pm – late by two hours
The Lahore-Shah Hussain Express train will leave Lahore for Karachi at 11:30 pm instead of 7:30 pm with a delay of 3.5 hours.
Separately, tea vendors have illegally started using cylinders in trains, endangering the lives of passengers.
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In Karakoram Express, food and tea are prepared using three cylinders at one time.
The Railways authorities have banned the use of cylinders in trains since 2019, when Tezgam caught fire due to a cylinder explosion.
The tragedy claimed the lives of 75 passengers.
The Railways ministry suspended six officers for alleged negligence in the aftermath of the Tezgam tragedy.
The railway department claimed that the incident occurred when a gas cylinder – apparently brought on board by passengers – exploded.
The inferno swept through Tezgam as the train was chugging past Liaquatpur city in the southern Punjab district of Rahim Yar Khan, according to officials.
The fire, fanned by the wind on the cruising train, quickly spread to two other compartments of the train catching most passengers off guard.
Some of the victims were killed by head injuries sustained as they leapt from the moving train.
Sheikh Rashid, the then railways minister, came out with a video message saying that two gas cylinders and a stove blew up on the Tezgam Express which was en route to Rawalpindi from Karachi.
The federal minister said that passengers managed to bring the gas cannisters and stove onboard the ill-fated locomotive.
The minister’s statement came under criticism from the country’s leading rights body, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). “The blame being shifted to passengers for the lethal accident near Rahim Yar Khan by the minister in charge is highly disappointing,” it said in a statement.
The human rights watchdog called for an independent inquiry into the incident, adding that: “We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families.”