Sheikh Rashid announces shuttle train for rain-hit Balochistan areas

By: INP      Published: 12:02 AM, 10 Aug, 2020
Sheikh Rashid announces shuttle train for rain-hit Balochistan areas
Sibi Railway Station.–File photo

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Sunday announced running a special shuttle train to rescue people from rain-hit Balochistan areas.

The first shuttle train will leave for Sibi from Quetta at 10:00 am on August 10 and will return to Quetta the same day at 4:00 pm.

Sheikh Rashid said the road network was damaged badly in the recent torrential rain in Balochistan province. “People are facing difficulties in commuting between Quetta and Sibi,” he said, adding that a large number of people is stranded at the Sibi Railway Station.

The minister said the deputy superintendent (DS) of Railways at the Sibi Railway Station had been directed to ensure safe transportation for the stranded people.

The shuttle train will continue to run between Quetta and Sibi unless the road infrastructure in the province is improved, said Sheikh Rashid.

Balochistan govt seeks railways’ help

As many as 15 districts of the Balochistan province remained worst affected in recent torrential rainfall while 300 villages were inundated with floodwater.

“As many as 278 mm rainfall is recorded in some districts of the province, forcing the government to open spillways of Merani and Shadi Kaur dams,” said a spokesperson for the provincial government, adding that eight people have so far been killed and 17 others injured in rain-related incidents.

The spokesman said that the provincial government has released Rs350 million for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to carry out relief activities. Divulging details of the infrastructural damage due to torrential rains, he said that a bridge collapsed at N-65 highway connecting Quetta and Jacobabad, and helicopters were used to rescue the trapped people.

“We have also appealed to the railway authorities to provide special rail services after damage to road infrastructure,” the provincial spokesman said. Liaquat Shahwani said that damage to road infrastructure on Coastal Highway is being repaired while restoration of other roads was also going on.

“We have set up a central control room at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat while Pakistan Army is also taking part actively in rescue efforts in the province, the spokesman for Balochistan government said.

Besides infrastructural losses, he said, harvest and cattle losses were also reported due to the rains and appealed to the citizens to stay safe as more downpour is predicted in the coming days in the province.