Inauguration of CNG buses crosses another deadline

KARACHI: The long awaited CNG bus project that had to be inaugurated until September 2 (today) is still waiting for green light to get started, while government is well aware that due to extreme shortage of buses people are compelled to travel on the rooftops of buses putting their lives at risk and traffic on roads is getting more and more thicker/ congested day by day.

The assertions made by Sindh government regarding providing mass transit system and improved transportation to Karachiites on immediate basis seem to be no more than empty talks. One wonders that what are the priorities of the government or what is balking them to implement the plans for the better interest of public.

Project Director CNG buses Ghulam Rasool has gone on official leave and before his leaving office when several questions were asked by PPI he replied neither of them on the basis that he was ordered to keep mum to provide any kind of information to the media, just like other so many officers of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) such as Senior Director Municipal Services Masood Alam, Chief Fire Officer Ahteshamuddin and many others, who are adamant not to give any information to media person putting question mark on their performances if they are doing any significant thing.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had directed the management of KMC on 21st August to bring the fleet of 36 CNG buses on road by September 2. Before this he had once more vowed on 12th June that CNG buses would hit the road by the end of June. Presiding over a meeting regarding the intra-city bus project at the CM House, Qaim Ali Shah had said that the reconditioning of the buses was in the final stages and that their reintroduction would be followed by intensive efforts to introduce a mass transit system in the city.

Then, Chief Secretary of Sindh Sajjad Salim Hotiyana had said on June 18 that CNG buses would soon be on roads. He had also ordered the concerned officials to ensure strict vigilance and maintenance of the buses which were stationed at the bus depot of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in Surjani Town. At that time it seemed that nothing is going to stop the project to facilitate the citizens.

After that, Administrator Karachi Rauf Akhter Farooqui had confirmed on 28th June that the buses would be on roads in around a week or two maximum.

Sindh Govt has spent Rs 40 million for re-conditioning the KMC CNG buses which were off road due to deterioration condition since long.

Karachi is the largest city and the economic, financial and industrial hub of the country. However, there is still no proper mass transit system here and the much promised projects of Bus Rapid Transit System are simply on paper.

Now, KMC press release has informed that the inauguration ceremony to be held on 2nd Sept under KMC had been postponed and the ceremony would be held at Chief Minister House on 5th September, where Qaim Ali would inaugurate the 35 CNG buses that would ply the route from Tower to Quaidabad.

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