The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday gave permission for public transport to resume from May 18 (Monday) as the Punjab government met with transporters and developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for resuming transport services.
According to the notification issued by the provincial relief rehabilitation and settlement department, public transport will be allowed to resume from Monday under the following procedure;
Divisional commissioners through regional transport authorities, after due consultation with transporters on SOPs, will open intra-district and district-to-district transport through individual orders on routes deemed appropriate by them.
In case of district-to-district transport involving more than one division, recommendations will be made to the provincial transport authority/department for a decision at that level.
Punjab govt meets with transporters
Meanwhile, the Punjab government held a meeting with transporters on Friday and developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for resuming public transport services in the province.
However, the final approval lies with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.
The meeting was chaired by provincial law minister Raja Basharat at the Transport House, Lahore. Provincial industries minister Mian Aslam Iqbal and others were also present for the meeting.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the law minister said that the Punjab government cares about transporters' woes as well as about protecting the people from the coronavirus.
"Therefore, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has decided to allow public transport to resume in the province under certain conditions," he said.
According to the SOPs decided by the government and transporters, the latter have been told to ensure the following measures;
- One passenger for every two seats
- Passengers should have a distance of at least three feet when boarding
- The air conditioning should be turned off and windows should be kept open
- Buses will have to be disinfected after each trip
- Hand sanitiser should be made available at each terminal
- Passengers will board the bus from the front entrance and exit from the back
- Passengers with a fever, cough will not be allowed to board the bus
Basharat added that petrol and diesel prices have been drastically reduced over the past few months. "Therefore, a committee headed by the secretary transport has been set up to review fares after consulting with transporters," he said.
He added that the recommendations will be presented to the chief minister who will make the final decision.
Iqbal added that the SOPs agreed upon will be strictly implemented by transporters.
During the meeting, the transporters assured the government that they will ensure the guidelines and provide masks and gloves to passengers at controlled rates.
Separately, the Punjab government allowed the automobile industry and shopping malls to open in the province.
In a video message, Aslam said that the Punjab government has allowed the automobile industry to open for all seven days per week, while shopping malls have been allowed to open for four days a week.
Grocery stores, bakeries to remain open 7 days a week in Punjab
Meanwhile, the Punjab home department issued a notification stating that only certain businesses will be allowed to open over the weekend — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — while the remaining will be closed.
According to the notification, grocery stores, karyana stores, bakeries, fruit and vegetable shops, milk and dairy shops, meat/fish shops, mandis and auto workshops will be allowed to open for seven days a week from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Further, petrol pumps, oil depots, takeaway and delivery services will be allowed to open for 24 hours seven days a week.
Postal and courier services will be allowed to open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, the notification added.
Additional input by Adnan Sheikh