ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Railways (PR) has demanded an amount of Rs177.96 million from the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for upgrading 18 unmanned level crossings in the province.

Pakistan Railways has taken several measures to prevent accidents and ensure safe trains operation, an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. He said that Pakistan Railways proactively took up this issue with all the provincial governments to fund conversion of these un-manned level crossings to manned level crossings.

"As a result of this follow up 75 un-manned level crossings out of 550 have been converted into manned level crossings during last financial year in the province at a cost of Rs610 million provided by the government of Punjab," he added. Efforts are underway for upgradation of remaining vulnerable level crossings. In this regard, the help of respective provincial governments is being solicited, he added.

To a question, he said that the Punjab government has committed funding of Rs1,250 million in two phases for upgradation of another 150 vulnerable unmanned level. The official said that the Sindh government has provided Rs104 million for upgradation of 15 most vulnerable level crossings. "An amount of Rs80 million has been demanded by the Pakistan Railways from government of Balochistan for upgradation of 10 unmanned level crossings," he added.

He said that Pakistan Railways is also in process of conversion of dangerous level crossings into under pass and flyovers on BOT basis with the help of the provincial governments. The official said that in first phase five level crossings have been identified in Punjab for consideration on trial basis. To another question, he said that Pakistan Railways conducted a joint survey in collaboration with all concerned district authorities during 2013 and identified 550 un-manned level crossings as vulnerable over the entire network.

He said that road surface of all level crossings is being improved together with warning boards. The Directorate of Public Relations has produced video messages for circulation over social media to inform the public about the dangers associated with railway crossings, he said. "Special bulletins and instructions are issued regularly for guidance of staff. Inquiries into accidents are held, responsibility fixed and remedial measures on the basis of their findings are promptly taken," he added.

He said that inspections of all manned or unmanned level crossings is being carried out by all concerned in accordance with laid down schedule.