KARACHI: The Sindh government has only given a token to the millions of residents of Karachi by bringing only 10 new buses against the promised 1,000 environment-friendly CNG buses since past couple of years.
The insiders told Pakistan Today that the federal government in year 2006-7 announced to bring 500 CNG on the roads of Karachi by February 2008, while at least 1,000 buses were to be introduced in the entire province.
Among them, as many as 600 buses were to be run on different inter-city routes of the metropolitan, 100 on the Karachi-Sukkur route, another 100 on Karachi-Hyderabad, and 50 each on the Karachi-Larkana, Khairpur-Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas routes.
According to the sources, following the lethargic attitude of Sindh’s authorities and the political hustle-bustle, the financier of the project, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has pulled out of the project. Other than ADB’s withdrawal, the federal government has also refused to give a subsidy of Rs700,000 per vehicle, citing ‘financial issues’ as the reason.
On the other hand, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had also completed all the groundwork to initiate the long-delayed, multibillion-rupee project, however, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led federal government showed reluctance to provide the promised funds in the midst of the ongoing financial downturn as well as the recent energy crisis, particularly the CNG crisis.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari during PPP’s tenure had approved three mega projects including the CNG bus project for Karachi, that were to be launched and overseen by the city government.
Furthermore, in 2012 the Sindh Transport Department had changed the plan of bringing CNG buses with the diesel engine and in this regard, a project implementation unit was also established. But that plan could not be executed.
However, recently, the Sindh government has collaborated with a private bus company launch only ten buses on city’s roads which is seen with a sheer skepticism.
Pakistan Today tried to contact Sindh Labor and Transport Minister Nasir Shah, however, his cell phone remained unattended till the filing of the report.