ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is expected to face an awkward situation in a couple of months when it will have an adequate number of buses without a depot, as the civic agency has failed to award the contract for establishment of the depots.

The CDA is about to receive 160 electric buses in about two months from China out of which the first fleet of 30 buses have already reached Karachi and a vessel is on way from China carrying the second fleet of 70 buses which will arrive next month followed by the last fleet of 60 buses.

The CDA has developed a temporary depot/charging station at the Convention Centre for the first fleet of 30 buses. Last year, it had planned three sites for construction of depots – Zero Point, I-9 and Tramri. However, work has not been started on any of them.

The engineering wing opened financial bids on April 18 and National Logistic Cell (NLC) won the bids for establishing Tramri and I-9 bus depots. Sources said NLC quoted a bid of Rs1.17 billion and Rs1.1 billion for the two depots. Currently, the bid evaluation process is underway.

Once started, work on these depots is to be completed in four months. However, tender is not yet floated for Zero Point depot. In January this year, the CDA was about to award tender of Zero Point depot, but the lowest bid of Rs2 billion also turned to be 93pc higher than the estimated cost. Resultantly, the civic agency had to cancel the bid, but the new one is not yet called. The 160 has been procured by CDA’s contractor National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), which will operate them and the CDA will pay it Rs306 to Rs331 per kilometer.

Earlier, the CDA had intended to procure the buses from its own funding, however, last year it decided to hire the services of a contractor and called bids, which was won by NRTC.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his previous tenure had directed the CDA to launch new bus services on 13 routes. He had also inaugurated three metro bus services: Orange Line, Green Line and Blue Line. The buses plying on the three routes belong to the CDA and they are providing great relief to thousands of passengers daily.

The capital city remained without a decent transport service as after the closure of Government Transport Service (GTS), no effort was made to start any bus service. However, during the 2013-18 PML-N government, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro service was stared followed by Orange, Green and Blue lines.

CDA officials said when the buses will start operating on the 13 new routes, connecting rural and urban areas and almost all sectors of Islamabad with each other there will be an adequate travelling facility available for the residents. When contacted, CDA director public relations Abeera Dilawar said soon the issue of bids would be finalised. She said that technical bids were opened in February and financial bids were under process. “Tender opened in February and technical approval has been approved,” she said.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...