The 40th meeting of the Public-Private Partnership Policy Board of the Sindh government held on Thursday decided to launch a number of important projects, including procurement and operations of...
The 40th meeting of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Policy Board of the Sindh government held on Thursday decided to launch a number of important projects, including procurement and operations of buses for the Yellow Line BRTS, the establishment of an oil palm tree nursery and a related tissue culture laboratory. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah chaired the meeting at the CM House. Transport Minister Sharjeel Memon told the CM that with collaboration between the federal and Sindh governments, a comprehensive solution to Karachi’s urban mobility problem was underway by implementing a bus rapid transit system (BRTS), as planned under the Karachi Urban Transport Master Plan (KUTMP) of 2030.
He added that in order to implement KUTMP, the transport department conceived a project which included the supply and operations of buses for the Yellow Line BRTS under a PPP contract with a concession period of 10 years. According to Memon, private operators would finance, procure, supply, operate, and maintain various systems such as bus fleets, intelligent transport systems, fare collection, depot equipment etc. and provide related services.
The meeting was told that the World Bank would provide 50 per cent of the project’s cost – which means the development and operation of the BRT Yellow Line Corridor -- and the rest of the amount would be arranged by the private partners of the project.
The private partners would also develop the marketing strategy to sensitize potential investors’ participation in the bidding process and assist the Sindh Mass Transit Authority during the procurement of buses.
The PPP Policy Board accorded approval to the concept of the project as well as to initiating the procurement process to carry out feasibility studies and transaction advisory services in relation to the supply and operation of buses for the Yellow Line BRT Project. Minister Environment & Climate Change Ismail Rahoo told the meeting that Pakistan annually imported 4.5 million tons of edible oil worth $5 billion, the second highest import bill after petroleum products. He added that Sindh is naturally blessed with a rich coastal belt that has tremendous potential to integrate agricultural crops, including coconut and oil palm. According to the minister, the oil palm tree starts bearing fruit after three years of plantation, while it fully matures after seven years of plantation. It has a life span of 25 to 30 years under intensive management operations.
The Sindh Coastal Development Authority (SCDA) initiated a pilot project in 2016-17 namely ‘Palm oil production in the coastal belt of Sindh’, Rahoo said and added that the project successfully undertook plantation of oil palm trees in an area of 30 acres in the Kathore Forest and established an oil extraction mill with the capacity of two tonnes oil extraction per day.
Under this project, all maturing oil palm trees yielded fruit, and oil was extracted, which was duly acknowledged by independent organizations. The Sindh cabinet approved the transfer of 3,000 acres of forest land to the SCDA at Kathore and Hayat Gaho forests for oil palm plantation and a scheme ‘Establishment of Oil palm Nursery, Tissue Culture Laboratory and Block Plantation in the Coastal Belt of Sindh’ has been included in the Annual Development Programme of the Sindh government for the year 2021-22. The environment minister told the CM that the land has been transferred to the SCDA; therefore, the department intended to initiate the project under the PPP modality. The policy board approved the plan and gave the go-ahead to the department to initiate the project.
Minister for Local Government Nasir Hussain Shah told the meeting that Rani Bagh was established as a botanical garden in 1861 in honour of Queen Victoria. It is in the centre of the Hyderabad city. He added that the present state of Rani Bagh made it the largest yet underutilized public recreational facility in Hyderabad, featuring a zoo, mechanical rides, an open-air theatre, and a grass lawn on its 54 acres of centrally located land.
Shah said the Local Government Department intended to explore avenues for private investment to establish a modern state-of-the-art park with a better green space having recreational and amusement facilities for citizens. The PPP Policy Board meeting approved the department’s project to upgrade Rani Bagh.