In a meeting Saturday with the Ministers of Transportation, Interior, and Local Development, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb ordered all officials responsible for railways to immediately start the removal of all illegal railway crossings.
Last week an accident occurred where a train hit a school bus, when the train crossed an illegal tunnel at the entrance of Al-Shorouk City. As a result, seven students died and many more were injured.
“We should firmly deal with this issue. No one will escape punishment; we are now waiting for the Prosecutor General’s investigations, and officials responsible for this accident will be punished,” said Mehleb, commenting on the accident.
Minister of Local Development Adel Labib stated that all governors will be called in to arrange with the Egyptian National Railways and Security Directorates in governorates, in order to immediately demolish illegal tunnels, while closing the extremely dangerous tunnels.
“We will stand against those who attempt to build any new illegal tunnels,” said Labib. This step will be achieved through city and village councils, and officials responsible for railways in each and every governorate. Meanwhile, the civil community will participate in order to protect the demolished sites so that they will not be rebuilt.
As for Minister of Transportation Hany Dahi, he presented a report about the illegal tunnels constructed on the railways. He confirmed that there are more than 4,500 illegal tunnels, all over the country. With the cooperation of different governorates, demolishing works of those tunnels has begun. However, some people dig these tunnels again.
Dahi added that officials responsible for railways always file complaints concerning illegal tunnels, and there was already a complaint against the tunnel that caused the accident at the entrance of Al-Shorouk City.
During the meeting, officials responsible for railways gave a report of the challenges that they face, whether the continuous attacks against railways, or citizens passing the railway junction while it is closed, aside from the deployment of bombs and explosive materials on the railways. Afterwards, they presented a plan concerning railway junction developments, which are now under construction.
Mehleb concluded the meeting by calling for work from different governorates, in addition to the officials in the ministries of interior and transportation, aiming to deal with this issue, due to its extreme importance.