Bus fare issue: if I ‘spread the rod’ transporter will go on strike: minister tells Sindh assembly

Karachi: Showing his helplessness to take action against private public transporters of Karachi who are reluctant to decrease the bus fare despite huge decrease in oil prices, Sindh minister for transport Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani said that if he spread the rod the transporter would call strike.

Answering to a short notice question of MQM lawmaker Kamran Akhtar that why the transporter mafia of Karachi have not decreased the minibus fares in Karachi despite about 35percent decrease in the oil prices and why the government is not taking action against them, Mumtaz Jakhrani told the Sindh assembly that notification for decrease in fares in Sindh province saving Karachi has already been issued. However, he said the private public transporters of Karachi are not ready to decrease the bus fare on the plea that they are using CNG in 95percent of their minibuses.

On this, Speaker Aga Siraj Durani observed that the use of CNG in public transport vehicles is illegal because the government has given then route permits on the basis of their diesel use. He said there should be a ban on use of CNG in public transport vehicles as due to substandard gas cylinders innocent people are dying when these cylinders explode and buses catch fire. He said nowhere in the world public transport buses are allowed to run on gas. He said the minister should take action against the negligent transporters. However, Mumtaz Jakhrani said if he spread the rod (aga men danda uthata hoon..) the private transporters would call strike.

However, on another short notice question of Muhammad Hussain Khan of MQM that why the vital rail-based public transport project, Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) has been in limbo for so long and why JICA has abandoned this important project and if the Sindh government is taking any step to resume work on the KCR irrespective of JICA’s assistant, Mumtaz Jakhrani admitted that the KCR is the backbone of Karachi’s economy. He said out of 43-kilometer track of the KCR, only eight kilometers are under encroachments and some encroachers have moved the court, making JICA a party in the case; therefore, the JICA had abandoned the KCR project. He said, however, Sindh government is in contact with some Chinese companies to resume work on the KCR revival.

The transport minister further told the assembly that in KCR there is sixty percent share of the federal government and 40 percent share of the provincial government. He requested the members of both treasury and opposition to table and pass a joint resolution urging the federal government to hand over the control of the KCR project to the provincial government of Sindh so that smooth working on this long abandoned project could be resumed.

Speaker Durani also observed that the members of both treasury and opposition benches should move this joint resolution to ensure the early resumption of the KCR work by the provincial government of Sindh.

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