ISLAMABAD: The Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) of the Ministry of Interior on Monday approved a PC-I prepared by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for operation, management and maintenance of the Metro Bus Service between Peshawar Mor and the Islamabad International Airport (IIA).
Under the PC-I worth Rs1.9 billion, the CDA will procure 30 buses to ply them on the metro track. It will also be responsible for the management and maintenance of the service.
Sources said though the PC-I was approved at a meeting of the DDWP, there is no fund allocated in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fiscal year 2020-21. It was decided in the meeting that the matter would be referred to the federal cabinet for funding arrangements.
The project to construct the metro track executed by the National Highways Authority (NHA) is near completion and will soon be handed over to the CDA.
Work on the construction of the 25.6km track worth Rs16 billion was started by the previous government. The completion of the project missed several deadlines.
DDWP of interior ministry decides to approach govt for funds
The sources said it was difficult for the CDA to start the bus service immediately as getting funds from the federal government for procurement of buses, installation of information technology equipment, a security surveillance and command and control systems was a time-taking process.
They said even if funds were available, the CDA will have to wait for a few months to get the buses prepared from the manufacturing company.
They, however, said as an alternative the CDA was making efforts to engage private operators to start the bus service and had already held several meetings with the private transporters. But the private bus operators were considering the route not financially feasible.
Recently, Chief Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed, who is also the chairman of the CDA, held a meeting of stakeholders to explore options as to how the bus service could be started immediately.
The sources said the CDA was also working on a proposal to request the Punjab Metro Bus Authority (PMBA), which operates the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service from Saddar Rawalpindi to Secretariat Islamabad, to ply some of its buses on the new track. A large number of buses of the PMBA are currently parked.
The federal government has been paying over 60 per cent subsidy for the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus service while the 40pc share comes from the Punjab government,
The previous PML-N government had launched the Peshawar Mor-IIA metro bus project keeping in view that the PMBA would be directed to start the service on this track too. However, the PMBA had refused to do so, terming the bus service financially unavailable.
Uncertainty then loomed over the project as neither the NHA and CDA nor the Islamabad district administration took responsibility to start the bus service. Finally, Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this year directed the CDA to procure buses to run the service.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020