KARACHI: Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh on Sunday thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for providing quality transport facilities to citizens of provincial capital as a fleet of 40 buses reached Karachi to be plied under Green Line Bus Service.

People of Karachi would now get rid of crumbling, worn out buses thanks to federal government that would not leave Karachiites at the mercy of inefficient Sindh government, said Sheikh, who is also central vice president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in a statement. PTI workers also staged a token protest by holding pictures of old, worn out buses run by Sindh government in the metropolis.

He said that inauguration of Karachi Circular Railway was expected within a few days and mega water supply project K-IV would also prove to be another gift by PTI government to Karachi after its completion.

He said that Sindh government claimed to have spent Rs1,161 billion on transport sector and construction of roads during its 13-year rule in the province while Rs3.11 billion were earmarked for the purpose in 2020-21 budget.

He said that in current financial year 2021-22, Rs6.46 billion more had been allocated for the transport sector but all the projects remained limited to mere announcements and no change had occurred on ground.

The 3.9-kilometre Orange Line, the shortest transport service of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Karachi, was inaugurated on June 11, 2016, with an estimated cost of Rs1.14 billion but the project remained incomplete despite passage of over four years, he said.

Red Line, a 27-km section from Malir Halt to Numaish, and another section from Numaish to Tower were still awaiting completion, he said.

Yellow Line was another abandoned project under which 104 new buses were planned to be inducted in local transport system, he said and added that an agreement in this regard was inked with a Chinese firm in 2016 under which the Sindh government had to provide 30 per cent of the total project cost while the remaining 70 pc were to be made available by the Chinese firm.

But, he said, the Sindh government did not fulfill its part of the deal and the work on the project came to a halt. The Sindh government announced a project of plying 1,000 buses on 40 different routes in Karachi in 2019, which could not be materialised while Peoples Bus Service was another failure that ended in pilot stage within four months, he said.

Sheikh said that a 600-bus project named after Shaheed Benazir Bhutto met the same fate while announcement of running electric buses ended up as mere announcement as not a single electric bus had been launched by the Sindh government. Even data about the projects was not available on the provincial transport department’s website, he added.

He said that better transport facilities were available to citizens in the provincial capital till 1990 but a recent report of Bloomberg said that Karachi had the worst local transport system among 100 mega cities of the world.

He said that PPP had ruthlessly plundered national exchequer and people of Sindh were deprived of even basic facilities. Fifty new CNG buses were imported in 2007 with estimated cost of Rs250 million but the PPP government sold the buses to its party leader at a meagre price through a fake auction, he said.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2021

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