KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet has approved an amendment in the rules of Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (SPPRA) to expedite the process for work on the Blue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
The provincial cabinet held a meeting on Wednesday at the new Sindh Secretariat.
Briefing the cabinet about traffic issues in Karachi, Transport Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said there were 4.14 million vehicles registered in Karachi, while 6,457 buses of various sizes were plying on 192 routes against the requirement of 10,600 buses.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah observed that there was a shortfall of 4,143 buses in the city. He remarked that in Karachi the ratio was 45 persons per one bus seat while in Mumbai and Hong Kong, the ratio was 12 and eight persons per seat respectively. "We have to reduce this gap by providing efficient, comfortable and affordable transport facilities to the people of this megalopolis," the CM said.
Nasir also informed the cabinet that the number of contract buses in Karachi was 2,715 and 80% buses running on roads were more than 20 years old. To this the CM remarked that it meant 5,400 vehicles in Karachi were 20 years old, which were not only causing inconvenience to commuters but also were contributing to environmental problems.
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The cabinet was told that 6,078 private vehicles and 22,476 motorcycles were being registered every month, leading to traffic congestion, pollution and increase in vehicle operating cost.
Transport Secretary Naveed Awan said the provincial government was involved in various BRT projects in the city among which work on the Abdul Sattar Edhi Line was in progress. Regarding the Blue Line BRT, the secretary said the transport department had received an unsolicited proposal from a consortium for building, operating and transferring 10.1 kilometres long Blue Line BRT project.
The cabinet discussed the project and in order to expedite the solicitation process, it approved an amendment in the SPPRA Rule 47(3) under which pre-qualification exemption has been made. After the amendment, any firm can directly participate in the bidding process.
Sindh Dowry Bill
The women development department presented the Sindh Dowry Act, 2017 draft before the cabinet. Under the proposed law, a limit of Rs50,000 has been suggested for dowry, presents and bridal gifts in marriages.
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The draft law says that no person shall give or take or abet the giving or taking of dowry exceeding Rs50,000. The proposed law also forbids any direct or indirect demand of dowry from the family or relatives of bride.
The CM, however, observed that if passed, the law would be difficult to implement. "We should make such laws which can be implemented in letter and spirit," he said, adding that dowry or extravagance in connection with marriage was a social problem for which society needed to be educated.
The proposal was also opposed by Industries Minister Manzoor Wassan and Planning and Development Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. The cabinet referred the draft law to a committee to make it workable.