DUSHANBE, July 13, 2010, Asia-Plus  -- Many metal drums have burst in 20 freight cars at the Kolkhozobod railroad station in Khatlon province today morning, Vladimir Sobkalov, the deputy of Tajik Railways, announced at a news conference in Dushanbe on July 13.

According to him, the metal drums burst as affected by high temperatures.  “The freight cars belonging to Kazakhstan’s state rail company have been affected as their bottoms are now under a 30-cm layer of bitumen,” Sobkalov said.

He noted that freight cars carrying bitumen had been supposed to arrive in Tajikistan in February already but they were allowed to move into Tajikistan only in mid-summer.  “It is natural that affected by high temperatures bitumen packed in metal drums melted down and released,” Tajik rail official said.

Sobkalov noted that the cargo belonged to Japanese company engaged in rehabilitation of the road from Kolkhozobod to Panj.  “Seventeen other freight cars loaded with bitumen for this company are on the way to the Kolkhozobod railroad station.”

A special commission has been set up to investigate the cause of the accident.  “After the investigation, we will address claims to the Uzbek side,” Sobkalov said.

According to Tajik Railways, 1,281 freight cars bound for Tajikistan are still being held up in Uzbekistan; 1,066 of them  are bound for Dushanbe and the remaining 215 cars are bound for Khatlon.