KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the Orange Line rapid bus transport project (RBT) by unveiling a plaque at the TMA Park in Orangi Town on Friday.

Work on the Orange Line, one of the six RBTs conceived by the government to replace the outdated public transport of the metropolis with an efficient transport system, has started with the groundbreaking ceremony. It is financed by the Sindh government from its own resources while the Green Line RBT is being set up by the federal government.

The other two lines are; Yellow Line and Red Line, which will function under the public-private partnership. The offer for Blue Line is under consideration and the Brown Line, which is light railway line, is in the process of negotiation.

The chief minister said after unveiling the plaque that his government had carried out many development works in Karachi. “We have given you underpasses and flyovers and now we are giving you an efficient transport system. This is your government and it is working for your welfare,” he said.

He said the PPP government had not abandoned Karachi and launched a number of projects for the city, including K-IV, for which all formalities had been completed. The pipeline project would provide 260 MGD water to Karachi which would cater to more than 80 per cent needs of the city.

Mr Shah recalled when he was minister for rehabilitation in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government, some Bihari students of Karachi University came to his office in Tughluq House and started hue and cry, calling for their settlement.

“On behalf of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto I announced allocation of 25,000 acre land in Orangi. Orangi was established by Z.A. Bhutto and the PPP used to sweep elections in this area. Afaq Shahid was our MNA,” he said.

He added that an efficient communication system would speed up trade and commercial activities in the city.

Sindh Minister for Transport Mumtaz Jakhrani said that some people had started politics over water. “I asked them what held them from solving Karachi’s nagging water issue when they were in power? It is the PPP government which is now looking after Karachiites in an adequate manner,” he said.

He said the Orange Line would initially cover four kilometres and it would be extended to nine kilometres before its completion.

About the Orange Line project, transport secretary Taha Farooqui said that it was being established at a cost of Rs1.14 billion after saving over Rs1bn by rationalising its cost.

He said that it was originally a four-kilometer project which had a capacity of over 50,000 commuters per hour.

Mr Farooqui said there was no system of integration among different BRTs in the city. “The Asian Development Bank has started developing an integration system of different BRTs to operate in Karachi for us,” he said, adding the issues of traffic jams and roadblocks would come to an end with the launch of RBT systems.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2016

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