• Sharjeel says 1,039 Peoples buses being plied in Karachi
• Plan to procure 60 ambulances, five mobile medical vans approved

KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on Monday was informed that around 15,000 buses were required to meet the public transport needs of Karachi, while only 1,039 buses of the Peoples Bus Service (PBS) were plying on different routes in the city.

The information was provided by Sindh Information and Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon during the Monday meeting of the cabinet, which was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

Briefing the cabinet, Minister Memon said around 15,000 buses were needed in Karachi to cater to its public transport demand.

He said more buses would be inducted in phases to resolve the transport woes of people in the city.

He proposed to the cabinet for induction of 500 more buses immediately in the PBS fleet to facilitate the poor segment of the society at large.

Mr Memon, who attended the cabinet meeting through a video link, said the transport department also proposed to launch 200 electric taxis in the city, adding that 50 of them would be ‘Pink Taxis’ operated by and for women.

The chief minister agreed to the transport minister’s proposals and asked him to prepare a feasibility report in this regard.

Amidst multiple civic and other infrastructural problems, the issue of shortage of public transport has hit the city of millions who are left with little options to reach their destinations.

While the launching of the PBS buses by the provincial government has brought a sigh of relief among people, the slow pace of addition of buses to the fleet has become a matter of grave concern for the commuters who maintain that the number of buses is too low to cater the needs of the city.

Meanwhile, informed sources said the proposal to add 500 more buses to the PBS fleet and to launch 200 taxis would be finalised in the next fiscal year as the feasibility of the two proposals was not expected to

be floated by the transport department before the presentation of the next provincial budget.

They said the funds allocated for the transport schemes would stand frozen and allocation of funds for them would be made in the next budget.

Procurement of 60 ambulances okayed

The cabinet approved the procurement of 60 ambulances, including 30 mobile medical vans, cleared the breastfeeding law to ensure breastfeeding of children for three years, and upgraded posts of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre from grade 9 to 14 and onward.

Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho informed the cabinet that there was a need for the procurement of 60 ambulances, including 30 mobile medical vans and five mobile laboratories for which Rs2 billion was required.

It was pointed out that mobile medical units would be utilised in settings where medical facilities were limited or inaccessible. The mobile laboratory would be used in disease outbreak investigation, rapid diagnostic testing, surveillance and monitoring, environmental testing, and support for field hospitals and medical teams.

The ambulances would be included in the fleet of Rescue 1122.

The cabinet approved the request and funds for the purpose.

Specialist cadre

Dr Pechuho told the cabinet that there was a sanctioned strength of 1,975 specialist cadre doctors (BS-18), against which only 947 were working and 1,028 were vacant.

She added that her department had sent a requisition of 1,096 posts of specialist cadre doctors, BS-18, to the Sindh Public Service Commission. The SPSC recommended only 68 and still 1,028 posts were vacant.

The cabinet was told that at present 2,240 medical officers of BS-17 were post-graduated in different specialties. The services of those medical officers of BS-17 could be utilised as specialists by posting them on the post of specialist (BS-18) by making them a post of specialist as floating posts BS-17/18.

The health minister said the medical officers, BS-17, having postgraduate degrees in the relevant field could be posted against the posts of special cadre BS-18, to curtain the shortage of doctors for the smooth running of hospitals in the province.

The cabinet approved the proposal and directed the health department to promote the postgraduate doctors who have completed their length of service and make necessary changes in the recruitment rules so that they could be posted against the specialist cadre in grade BS-18.

The cabinet also approved the creation of 455 posts of new specialties posts in teaching hospitals, including physical specialties, surgery specialties, allied specialties, and other human resources. These positions are for grades BS-17, 18, and 19.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023



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