The Karachi Transport Ittehad’s president Irshad Bukhari (KTI) on Tuesday demanded the government provide compensation for at least 30 buses torched in a day of abject violence in Karachi.
The veteran transport chief said that 500 vehicles including buses, minibuses and coaches that are registered under KTI’s umbrella have been torched over the past four years in Karachi. With security being a subject of the State, their helplessness in preventing private property being destroyed renders them liable to provide compensation. However, despite numerous requests and years of wait, Bukhari says that of the 500 vehicles his members have lost, compensation for only 100 vehicles have been paid. Much of these payments came from former Home Minster Zulfiqar Mirza. Owners of the remaining 400 vehicles are still awaiting their cheques.
According to Bukhari Rs 200,000 were paid as compensation by the Sindh government while the per vehicle cost was Rs1.2 million.
With their fleets regularly being depleted, Bukhari revealed that the KTI, nor owners had bothered to invest in new vehicles, with no unit being added in the Karachi transport grid since 1990, “who will waste his money on transport when the situation of the city so unpredictable. Our vehicles are torched to make strikes a success, then why should one bring new vehicles into this city.”
The KTI chief added that almost all of the transporters are owners of at least two to three vehicles and their families were dependent on these vehicles.
“As many as 40 drivers have been killed in and more than a hundred have been seriously wounded in a number of violent incidents, but only 10 were compensated with Rs300,000 for the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured”, he said.