RAWALPINDI: Initial work on metro bus service project for twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been completed and the ground breaking ceremony for the project will be held on February 28.

A senior official of City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) told Dawn that the project would cost Rs30 billion and it will be similar to the Lahore metro bus service.The funding will be shared by the federal and Punjab governments and the contract will be given to a Turkish company, he said. The official added that Nespak is the consultant for the project.

According to the plan, the route of the Metro Bus Service will start from Flashman’s Hotel to Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad via Benazir Bhutto Road, I. J. Principal Road, Ninth Avenue and Margalla Road.

It will stretch over 20 kilometer and will have 24 stops.

A few months ago, Regional Transport Authority (RTA) had conducted a survey of different routes between Rawalpindi and Islamabad and found Saddar to Pakistan Secretariat most viable as more than 150,000 passengers travel on this route daily.

For the launching of Metro Bus Service, the Punjab government had inducted a new team of engineers from Lahore into Rawalpindi Development Authority.

Meanwhile, RDA Director General Chaudhry Naseer Ahmed has been transferred and Commissioner Zahid Saeed assumed the acting charge of the authority two days ago.

The district administration has also asked public utility services to start shifting services from the route of metro bus service from next week onwards. The corridor will be established on the main artery of the city.

When contacted, RTA Secretary Awais Manzoor Tarrar said that the project was being launched by Punjab Metro Bus Authority (PMBA) and the regional transport authority had no role in it.

He said that the RTA conducted the survey of different routes between the twin cities and informed the PMBA, adding that the former would not give any suggestions or propose any route. Commissioner Zahid Saeed was in Lahore to give the briefing about the project to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in this regard on Sunday, and was therefore not available for comments.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on Sunday presided over a meeting on the metro bus service in Rawalpindi and Islamabad in which Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was also present.

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