ISLAMABAD, Aug 24: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) board is still in a fix over launching of a bus service in the city.

On Saturday, the Punjab Metrobus Authority (PMA) and the cash-strapped CDA placed an advertisement in the national dailies for a feasibility study to run a mass transit service in the twin cities.

It added: “PMA in collaboration with CDA intends to hire the services of engineering firms to conduct a detailed transport modelling for establishing a long-term mass transit network and to prepare the feasibility study for identifying a priority one-mass transit line in the twin cities.”

But a senior planner with the Punjab government while talking to Dawn insisted: “The one-mass transit line is meant mainly for a train service.”

He said the plan for a transit line was a priority of the PML-N government to give a modern look to the twin cities by introducing a transit system like the one existing in Guangzhou, China.

“It’s a multi-billion rupees investment. The Punjab and federal governments are eyeing a joint venture with international companies mainly from China and Turkey to execute the project,” said the planner.

However, the CDA’s claim that it was working to launch a bus service to provide relief to the citizens still seems a distant dream.

Its board takes a U-turn on the project every month.

Soon after Nadeem Hasan Asif took over as the CDA chairman a few months back, the civic agency started work on the Rapid Bus Transport System (RBTS) project. But the latest advertisement downplays the authority’s dream project.

Besides, financial constraints have forced the CDA to look for easy alternatives and its officials have started working on launching a simple bus service.

In a recent interaction with Dawn, the CDA chairman had said: “We are aware of the discomfort the public suffers and the new bus service is aimed at providing a quick relief to the commuters.”

He added: “We are not bowing out of that project. Indeed, my officials are working on a detailed feasibility of the RBTS.”

However, a source close to the development maintained that the latest advertisement seeking consultancy services related to the “one-line mass transit system” showed that the CDA chairman had little role to play in launching a transport service.

“It’s a political decision whether the twin cities will have a bus service or a train service,” said the source.

He maintained that the CDA chief was mainly acting on the directions of the government since the project (bus or train transit system) was more of a political nature.

“The CDA has no financial resources to complete mega projects on its own and, therefore, has established a limited company to complete such schemes under a joint venture and on the basis of Build Operate and Transfer (BOT).”

An official of the authority added that the direction and vision of the new board was not clear about the project.

“We learn about the projects mainly from the office of the chairman and are directed to start working on the project feasibility,” he added.

Despite repeated attempts, the CDA chief could not be contacted for comments.

A senior official in the PMA on the condition of anonymity said: “It can be a train or a bus service but the final decision will be taken on the basis of the feasibility study conducted by the consultant engineering firms.”

He added that the feasibility study and modelling of the train or bus service would be for the next two decades.

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