Preparations are underway for the inaugural ceremony of the Metro Bus Service slated for February 10. Receptions at each of the stations will highlight the work and programmes of the Punjab government.
Fourteen government departments and six Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers are in charge of arrangements at 27 bus stations. The inauguration ceremony is scheduled to be held at Nishter Colony starting at 10:30am. The first of the 45 buses will take off at 11:45am from Nishter Colony. The bus will stop at every station for a reception.
Every station will have information counters. The City District Government (CDG) has been given six bus stations to look after on the route. Higher Education Department (HED) will make arrangements on five stations.
Gajju Matta, the first station, will represent the culture of Lahore. The second Dullu Khurd, will advertise the Green Tractor Scheme (organised by the Agriculture Department). The progress of the Jinnah Abadi will be showcased on the third station, Youhanabad, by the Board of Revenue. The Transport Department will highlight the Yellow Cab Scheme at the Nishter Colony Station, the fourth station. Atari Saroba, the fifth station, will highlight the Aashiana Scheme (displays organised by the Punjab Land Development Company).
Sindh’s culture will be displayed at the sixth station, Kaamahan. The seventh station, Chungi Amar Sidhu, will display the culture of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The eighth station, Ghazi Chowk, will represent the culture of Azad Jamu & Kashmir. The Qainchi Stop, the ninth one, will display the culture of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Ittefaq Hospital station, the 10th stop, will be used by Health Department to elaborate its Anti-Dengue Scheme and Mobile Health Units will be highlighted. The Naseerabad stop is under the Danish Schools Authority while Model Town, the 12th stop, is with the Pakistan Educational Endowment Fund. Kalma Chowk, the 13th stop, will have arrangements by the Land Records Management and Information Systems. The Punjab Youth Festival will be celebrated at the Gaddafi Stadium under the auspices of the Sports Department.
At the 14th stop on Canal Road PML-N Lahore President Malik Perviez and General Secretary Khawaja Imran Nazir will greet the bus. The Ichhra station is with the Women Development Department and the Shama station with the Lahore Waste Management Company. The 18th stop, Qurtaba Chowk, will showcase the HED’s internship programme. The Jinazgah stop will present Baloch Culture. The MAO College stop will highlight IT Labs (organised by the HED).
The HED will highlight its foreign scholarship programme at the Civil Secretariat stop. At the Katcheri Bus Station lawyers will greet guests.
The Bhati Chowk stop will display Turkish culture. The 24th stop at Azadi Chowk will highlight the struggle of Tehrik-i- Pakistan (again organised by the HED). The Timber Market stop is with the Lahore Development Authority who will spotlight the workers contribution. The Laptop Scheme will be on display at the 27th stop, Niazai Chowk, by the HED. The closing ceremony would be hosted by MNA Malik Riaz at Shahdara.
Punjab government officials said the cost of the receptions ranged from Rs400,000 to Rs1 million. They said that most of that cost would be borne by the provincial government. The Shama station reception was being sponsored by two Turkish waste management companies. They said the Rs1 million spending was part of its awareness and mobilisation campaign.
Traffic Engineering & Transport Planning Authority officials meanwhile said work on bus stations would be difficult to complete by February 10.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2013.