On the arrival at the Karachi port of a ship carrying the first batch of the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit buses from China, the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Pakistan...
On the arrival at the Karachi port of a ship carrying the first batch of the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses from China, the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Haleem Adil Sheikh, on Sunday expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan for providing better transport facilities to citizens of Karachi.
At the same time, he lambasted the Sindh government for making no improvements in the transport sector of Karachi as he spoke in the Ahsanabad area. Sheikh boarded a W-11 minibus in Ahsanabad, the starting point of the minibus, and travelled with residents to ‘expose’ the 13-year performance of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sindh government in the transport sector.
He said the PTI’s promise of Green Line bus service was turning into a reality and 40 buses for the project had reached Karachi. “Residents of Karachi would get rid of crumbling shaky buses thanks to the federal government that would not leave Karachiites at the mercy of the inefficient Sindh government,” he added.
Sheikh, who is also the PTI’s central-vice president, stated that the inauguration of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) was also expected in a few days and the completion of the mega water supply project of K-IV would be another gift by the PTI government to Karachi. The Sindh government during its 13-year rule in the province claimed to have spent Rs1,161 billion on the transport sector and construction of roads and Rs.3.11 billion were earmarked in the 2020-21 provincial budget, the PTI leader claimed. “In the current financial year 2021-22, further Rs6.46 billion were allocated for the purpose but all the projects remained limited to mere announcements and no change could be seen across the province.”
He recalled that the Orange Line BRT in Karachi, which is the shortest of tall the BRT projects in the city with a length of 3.9 kilometres, was undertaken by the Sindh government and its construction started on June 11, 2016, with an estimated cost of Rs1.14 billion. However, despite the passage of over four years, the project was incomplete, he added.
The PTI leader mentioned that the Sindh government’s Red Line project, a 27-kilometre corridor from Malir Halt to Namaish, was also awaiting completion. He said the Yellow Line BRT was abandoned, under which 104 new buses were supposed to ply in the city.
He alleged that an agreement for the construction of the Yellow Line route had been reached with a Chinese company in 2016, under which the Sindh government had to provide 30 per cent of the finances and the remaining 70 per cent was to be provided by the Chinese firm, but the project was stalled because the provincial government did not provide its promised share for it.
The PTI leader said the Sindh government had announced a project of introducing 1,000 buses on 40 different routes in Karachi in 2019, which was never materialised. He named the Peoples Bus Service as another failed transport project of the Sindh government that ended in a pilot stage within four months.
Sheikh said a 600-bus project named after Benazir Bhutto met the same fate; whereas, the announcement of running electrical buses also just remained an announcement. Even data was not available on the website of the provincial transport department, he said.
He recalled that better transport facilities were available to citizens of Karachi until 1990, but a recent report of Bloomberg had ranked Karachi as the city having the worst local transport system among 100 megacities of the world. The PPP has plundered the national exchequer ruthlessly and people of Sindh were deprived of even the basic facilities, Sheikh said.
“Fifty new CNG buses were imported in 2007 with an estimated cost of Rs250 million but the PPP government through a fake auction sold the buses to their party leader at a meagre price,” he alleged.