KARACHI: In an effort to reduce environmental pollution and road accidents, the Sindh government has decided not to allow unfit vehicles to run on roads.
In this connection, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday performed a groundbreaking ceremony in the SITE area for establishing a Vehicle Inspection and Certification System (VICS).
An agreement was signed between the Transport and Mass Transit (TMT) Department and a consortium of private companies called ‘OPUS’ in July 2017 for the VICS to carry out vehicles’ inspection and issue them certificates in accordance with international standards and remove unfit vehicles from roads.
The system is likely to be made operational from the new financial year and the three-year-old vehicle, commercial or private, will have to obtain a fitness certificate from VICS, costing from Rs1,500 to Rs3,000 per vehicle, it emerged from the documents.
Each vehicle will be charged between Rs1,500 and Rs3,000 from next financial year
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister, who was accompanied by Transport Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, said safety of citizens and preservation of environment depended primarily on continuous maintenance of both public and private vehicles and that was why the provincial government had signed a partnership agreement with the private sector .
He said fitness was a very crucial component of road safety and as such implementation of VICS programme would play a vital role.
The chief minister said that in the first phase, the VICS centre was being established in the city and in the second phase there would be separate centres in every divisional headquarters.
He added that he held a meeting with office-bearers of the SITE association and asked them to construct infrastructure in the SITE area.
The schemes identified would cost Rs9 billion for which he had already released Rs1 billion during the current financial year.
“I am sure the SITE association, which is quite capable, will construct roads in a better way,” he said.
Earlier, during the meeting, the chief minister listened to their problems and directed the Karachi commissioner to start e-stamping in the SITE area.
“It is a digital age, therefore, manual system should be replaced with digital one,” he added and directed the West DIG to strengthen the command and control centre facility of the SITE association by giving them more staff.
Talking about the combined effluent plant site, Mr Shah said it was a Rs12 billion project but the federal government was reluctant to finance it.
“The provincial government is providing 50 per cent funds. Around 80 per cent industries of the country are located in Karachi but the federal government is reluctant to offer financial help for development of infrastructure and effluent plants, which is an injustice,” he added.
Talking to the media after the ceremony, the chief minister said mechanical sweeping, washing of roads and lifting of garbage in different parts of the city had already been started while cleanliness work of DMC West had been given to the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board.
In reply to a question, he said he had released the KMC budget and had given them extra funds to strengthen it financially.
“I am sure they will also improve their performance,” he said.
Regarding street crimes, Mr Shah said Karachi had turned peaceful after facing terrorism, targeted killings and extortion for some time.
“No terrorist incident took place in the city during 2017.
Now, we are making this city even more peaceful by launching targeted operation against street criminals,” he said, pointing out that he had held a number of meetings on street crimes and now things were improving.
“Karachi is a megalopolis city and some incidents of street crimes are not a big issue in terms of its population,” he said and added he was not justifying it but putting it on the record that countries with such massive population always faced such situations.
He said that in the past there used to be shutter-down strikes, buses were set on fire and roads were blocked but such incidents did not occur any longer.
“This is the success of the people of Karachi, who rejected them and supported the government to eliminate outlaws. Our law enforcement agencies have bravely crushed them,” he concluded.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2018