ISLAMABAD: The master plan commission was told on Friday that a public bus service will be launched on various routes in the capital city soon.

The commission, formed by the federal government to review Islamabad’s blueprint, met at the Arts and Craft Village under the convenorship of CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed.

The commission discussed various issues, including those in Zone-IV and Zone III, and a transport policy for the city.

The name of Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Ali Nawaz Awan, who is also MNA from Islamabad, was recommended for inclusion in the commission. Now, his name will be sent to the federal government for approval.

About the transport policy, the commission was told by the convener that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was going to procure 29 buses for plying them on three routes. Its PC-I has already been approved, tender documents are being finalised after which the CDA will call tenders for purchasing the buses.

The service will run on the routes: from Soan Garden to Faisal Mosque, Bhara Kahu to Faiz Ahmed Faiz metro bus station and from Tarnol railway station to the M5 metro station.

It may be noted that after the tendering process the CDA has already booked 30 buses for the Peshawar Mor to Islamabad International Airport metro track, which are currently being manufactured in China and expected to be delivered to the CDA by the end of March this year.

At present, there is no public bus service in the capital city while the metro bus service plies on one designated route. In the 1980s, the city had the Government Transport Service (GTS) and later a private company, Varan, launched a bus service which were discontinued after some years.

Since then, the CDA has made several announcements to start a bus service but failed to take any practical step.

“Let’s see, what happens. I am sure that the metro bus service will be launched soon as we have already placed orders for buses. Tender documents are being prepared for the other public bus service,” said an official of the civic agency.

The federal government had formed the commission in December 2018 for the revision of the master plan. The commission prepared an interim report and left the proper revision to a professional consultant. However, this task is yet to be completed.

Last year, the commission was replaced with new members who are now holding meetings to complete the much-needed revision. One of the members said the commission was moving on the right direction and would complete its task this year.

The master plan of Islamabad was prepared in 1960 by a Greek firm with recommendations of revising it after every 20 years. However, successive governments never made any serious attempts to revise it rather kept focusing on selective changes. So far, the master plan has seen over 40 selected changes.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2022

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