KARACHI: Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) has announced that transporters will resume intra-city public transport services on Monday, bringing their vehicles, including minibuses and coaches, back on the roads.
Addressing a press conference of Saturday, KTI president Irshad Bukhari warned of staging a sit-in if they were not allowed to operate, adding that they were willing to be arrested for restarting their services.
He pointed out that the Sindh government had announced the lockdown on March 18 and on the orders of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the transporters had suspended their operations.
Bukhari insisted that as the drivers and fare collectors were daily-wage workers, the transporters should have been paid a relief package by the government if suspending public transport was necessary.
Public transport partially restored in Punjab
Stressing the financial crisis being faced by transporters, he said that their families were starving. "We cannot see our children crying for food, so the CM and other ministers should not oppose our decision," he said.
He claimed that when shopkeepers were given permission to resume business, the transporters too had approached the provincial transport minister. According to him, Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani had asked them to devise standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their services, upon which they told him that they would carry passengers seat by seat.
Bukhari pointed out that the SOPs devised by the government were being ignored everywhere in the markets, while Qingqi rickshaw drivers overlooked all health advisories to transport up to 10 passengers at a time.
Transporters postpone protest for two days in Sindh
He reiterated that the transporters would follow all the SOPs, including the use of face masks and sanitisers, adding that they would disown those who failed to do so.
Further highlighting that they had postponed a protest scheduled for May 28 after being given assurances of decisions being made on the matter by provincial ministers, he added that all sectors across the country were now operating apart from Karachi's transporters.
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