KARACHI: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved the Yellow Line bus rapid transit system (BRTS) for provision of transport facilities in Karachi. The 21-kilometre-long route starting from Dawood Chowrangi in Landhi will end at Numaish Chowrangi to merge with the Green Line.
A CDWP meeting chaired by the federal minister for planning and development, Khusro Bakhtyar, last week in Islamabad gave approval to some major projects presented by the Sindh government. These projects included Karachi Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project Phase-1 worth Rs14.729bn and the Yellow Line worth Rs61.4bn.
The projects will now be forwarded to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for formal approval.
Senior officials of the Sindh Planning and Development Department, Sindh Mass Transit Authority and other relevant departments attended the CDWP meeting. These officials told The Express Tribune that earlier the Sindh government was planning to build and operate the Yellow Line project under public-private partnership model. However, since the private companies failed to make a good offer even after the passage of one and a half year, the idea was dropped. Just five months ago, the World Bank showed an interest in the project and consequently, the work has been started in this direction.
The Managing Director of the Sindh Mass Transit Authority, Iqtedar Ahmed, told The Express Tribune that CDWP approved the Yellow Line Project last week and the work on it has already been initiated in collaboration with the World Bank. The initial design of the project has been prepared, but the detailed design has yet to be made, he said.
According to the details gathered by The Express Tribune, the work on the project will start next year and will take two and a half years to complete. The total cost of the projects is estimated at $438.9 million of which, $381.9 million will be provided by the World Bank. The Sindh government will contribute $19.5 million towards the project cost while the private sector companies will bear $37.9 million of the cost. The buses for the Yellow Line project will be bought and operated on public private partnership basis.
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Under the Yellow Line project, eight underpasses will be constructed at Murtaza Chowrangi, Singer Chowrangi, Bilal Chowrangi, Vita Chowrangi, Brooks Chowrangi, Khyaban-e-Ittehad, Korangi Road intersection and the intersection on Sunset Boulevard. Jam Sadiq Bridge will also be widened for the project.
Sndh government officials hoped that ECNEC will give final approval in coming few months. They said soon after the ECNEC okays the project work will begin on the detailed design of the project. This will be followed by tender processing and the actual development and construction work will begin sometime in 2020.
Ahmed said that after the approval by ECNEC, the federal government and World Bank will settle the loans following which, the developmental work will begin.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2019.