Rs8.2b earmarked for mass transit and transport

Funds allocated for six new and 13 ongoing development schemes


Syed Ashraf Ali June 16, 2021

KARACHI:

The directionless mass transit system of the province has been given a financial injection of Rs8.2 billion in the overall provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP) 2021-22. Commuters will be hoping these funds see the light of day, especially since other provincial capitals are creating daylight between their transit systems and that of Karachi.

As per the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022, the government of Sindh has allocated Rs8.2 billion for 19 transport and mass transit projects. The development programme includes six new projects and 13 ongoing ones. Rs20.5 billion of foreign investment will be made in these projects.

The Sindh government has allocated Rs699.2 million for the Orange Line Bus Transit project in the next financial year. It is worth noting that the scheme has been delayed for five years and had to be completed 18 after its initiation in 2016.

The project covers a distance of 3.8 km from the Orangi Municipal Office to the Matric Board Office and its elevated track has been completed, as per recent developments. Rs843.3 million were marked for the project in the current financial year of which Rs335 million were spent.

The deadline for the project's completion was given as March of 2021, but the Sindh government failed to achieve the target this time around as well. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah expressed hope in his speech that the scheme would be completed this year.

Separately, the Sindh government reached an agreement with federal agency SIDCL to install an integrated intelligent ticketing system for the fare collection process and purchase of buses for the Orange Line project.

KCR

To build flyovers and underpasses for the rehabilitation of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Rs4.9b have been allocated in the upcoming budget. The government had allocated Rs3 billion for flyovers and underpasses at railway crossings for the outgoing year for which a sole PC-1 was completed. Construction work is still to get under way. It must be noted that Pakistan Railways had partially restored the KCR last year as per Supreme Court orders. Currently, transit is being provided from KCR's Orangi Station to Dhabeji Station under the supervision of Pakistan Railways.

Red Line Bus

Moreover, the Sindh government has earmarked Rs469.4 million for the Red Line bus project and Rs15.9 billion of foreign funding will be spent on the initiative. This project is being constructed with the financial support of Asian Development Bank and other foreign financial institutions.

Yellow Line

Rs60 million has been set aside for the Yellow Line bus project in the budget of the next financial year and foreign funding for this project will be Rs4.6b billion. The Sindh government has reserved Rs10 million for the reconstruction of four driver training schools in Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana and Sukkur. The project will be completed through a public-private partnership. Also, Rs10m have been allocated for the construction of bus terminals in Thatta, Badin, Qambar, Shahdad Kot and Mir Khan.

Electric buses

Separately, Rs6.47 billion have been reserved for the purchase of 250 diesel hybrid electric buses under the Sindh Intra-District People's Bus Service.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 16h, 2021.

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