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Govt urged to allocate Rs5bn for BRT

KARACHI, May 29: The Karachi Mass Transit Cell has urged the Sindh government to allocate Rs5 billion in the annual development programme for the forthcoming financial year (2013-14) for the infrastructure of a portion of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and procurement of at least 60 buses for the city on an urgent basis to provide immediate relief to expected 775,000 passengers daily.

KMTC officials also urged the provincial government to get a proposed draft act approved by the new Sindh Assembly for setting up the ‘Karachi Metropolitan Transport Authority’ as per the recommendations of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the donor agency, so that there were institutional and legal arrangements for running the proposed transport system.

A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry reviewed on Wednesday the progress of some mega transport projects in the city, including the mass transit system, Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and the BRT system.

Sources said that the chief secretary was expected to give a briefing to the new prime minister about the mega projects of Sindh so that funding and other issues could be taken up.

The chief secretary directed officials of the KMTC and KCR to prepare a joint presentation about the issues and submit it to his office within two days.

It was pointed out that a Jica appraisal mission was expected to visit Pakistan in August and a loan agreement for the KCR was likely to be finalised by December.

The meeting mainly focused on massive population growth in the city and its attendant burden on infrastructure especially transport. This projected population growth demanded an efficient mass transit system, which presently the city lacked as compared to all mega cities of the world.

The participants were informed that under the Jica study project, the feasibility reports of two BRT lines — green line and red line — had been completed and a PC-1 was also ready.

The green line would cover a proposed route of Surjani Town to Jama Cloth Market via North Nazimabad /Nazimabad, M.A. Jinnah Road covering over 21 kilometres and carrying 566,372 passengers per day. However, the completion of this project required Rs8 billion.

Similarly, the red line would cover Malir Cantonment to Regal Chowk via University Road covering over 24 kilometres and carrying 612,831 passengers daily. About Rs7 billion would be required to materialise this project.