Sindh govt announces resumption of intercity transport from today

Updated Jun 03 2020

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Transporters who would not comply with the government SOPs would not be allowed to operate. ⁠— Reuters/File
Transporters who would not comply with the government SOPs would not be allowed to operate. ⁠— Reuters/File

KARACHI: The Sindh government announced on Tuesday that the intercity transport services would resume from Wednesday (today) in all parts of the province.

In addition to allowing resumption of intercity transport, the government was also restoring “online transport services”.

These announcements were made by Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah at a press conference. Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Chief Minister’s Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab were also present.

The transport minister said that transporters would be required to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He said that the transporters who would not comply with the government SOPs would not be allowed to operate.

SOPs have been prepared for restarting online transport services

Awais Shah said that detailed discussions had been held with transporters and they had given full assurance that they would implement the SOPs issued by the government.

About resumption of online transport services, he said separate SOPs had been devised and it would be mandatory for operators to follow them.

Speaking on the occasion, Information Minister Nasir Shah said that transporters would also be required to reduce their fares.

He appealed to the people to fully take all precautionary measures while travelling.

Murtaza Wahab also asked the people to adopt the principle of social distancing while travelling.

People asked to learn to live with virus

The ministers also warned that the spread of the coronavirus in the province was showing an alarming sign, but maintained that the people have to learn to live with it “for a long time”.

Nasir Shah said that the Sindh government was repeatedly saying if the guidelines issued on health were not followed, there could be huge losses. “If a complete lockdown was imposed in the beginning, the coronavirus would not have spread so much today. But now we have to live with it for a long time.”

He said that it was unfortunate that despite repeated explanations, people were not taking the coronavirus seriously. “Our healthcare system has not got enough capacity to handle so many patients, so people have to take the coronavirus seriously,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was fortunate to have a sensible and mature opposition in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, but the situation in Sindh was completely different.

He said whenever the Sindh government talked about imposing a lockdown or ensuring implementation on health advisory or SOPs just to save lives, the opposition immediately held a press conference against it.

He said that the people had been constantly incited against the Sindh government by the opposition, adding that the Sindh government was portrayed as a villain or enemy.

Call to increase country-wide testing capacity

Mr Shah said that the Sindh government was continuously increasing the capacity of conducting tests for detection of people affected with Covid-19.

He said that in terms of population, the number of people infected with Covid-19 in Karachi was less than in Lahore and Islamabad.

He said there was an urgent need to increase testing capacity to detect patients across the country.

He said that after the meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) a unanimous voice and agreed decisions should reach the people so that they take these decisions seriously and realise that they had to follow them.

He said that if differences came to light after the NCC meeting, people would never take the decisions regarding the lockdown seriously.

He said that the Sindh government would ensure implementation of the decisions taken by the federal government regarding lockdown across the province.

Mr Shah said that when PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was told that the people in the province were censuring the Sindh government owing to the imposition of a tougher lockdown and that they would not vote for the party in the next elections, he responded by asking the Sindh CM that he could lose the elections but would not compromise on people’s lives.

Although the decisions taken by the Sindh government were unpopular, all these decisions were taken for the benefit of the people, he claimed.

He said that the PPP chairman had also asked the Sindh government to work with the federal government on the issue of coronavirus from the very outbreak of the pandemic.

Check on prices ordered

Regarding inflation, Nasir Shah said that CM Syed Murad Ali Shah had issued clear directives to all commissioners to keep an eye on inflation and to ensure that prices of essential commodities did not shoot up.

He said that the Sindh chief minister was trying to ensure that the prices of essential commodities should come down after the fall in prices of petroleum products.

He said that from now onwards everyone had to take precautionary measures at all times, adding that this was the only way that they could protect themselves and their loved ones from getting infected with the coronavirus.

He said that the Sindh government would have no objection if the services of Pakistan Army were sought for ensuring the implementation of the SOPs.

He said the opposition leader in Sindh feared that if the government arranged for his coronavirus test, it would come positive by any means. He clarified that he and the CM had also got tested from the Dow Lab.

Barrister Wahab urged the people to take precautionary measures as much as possible as the only way to keep safe.

He said people should now make face masks and sanitizers a part of their lives.

He said that the situation regarding coronavirus in the province was very bad as not only the elderly but also a large number of children had been infected.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020