THERE have been fascinating statistics and facts disclosed in the media about the metro bus projects in Lahore and Islamabad. The Lahore metro bus has a 27km route with 8km elevated construction completed at a cost of Rs29.8bn. Only about 50km away in Amritsar, India, a similar project of 31km with 12km of elevated construction started during the same period. It was completed at a cost of Rs9.2bn (cost has been calculated according to Pakistani currency).
The price of cement, steel and labour is a little higher in India. There are more than a dozen other such metro projects built in various cities of India, completed at costs three to four times lower than the Lahore project.
The Islamabad metro bus project is the most expensive metro bus road project built anywhere in the world. Most modern and much better projects in the Middle East, Europe, China and America have been constructed and completed at a much lower cost.
The per-km cost of the Islamabad metro project is even higher than similar projects in deserts or mountainous terrain. Metro bus projects have been completed from public funds and resources and every citizen has a right to question and know the reasons for such a high cost.
The government must be made answerable and asked to justify the construction of these projects.
Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2015