LAHORE: Pakistan Motors Transport Federation has strongly opposed the shifting of the Badami Bagh bus terminal out side the city, saying that the decision will cost hundreds of people their jobs.
Meanwhile, the Lahore commissioner says the shift is necessary to save the cultural heritage of the city.
The transporters, around 30 in number, while talking to the commissioner, Khusro Pervaiz Khan, said that they had no objection to a new terminal being built near the Ring Road “but we will never allow this terminal to be shut down”. They also threatened that they would “go to any extent if the decision was imposed on them”.
“The city government receives Rs500 per bus per day as terminal fee. The transporters have deposited approximately Rs1 billion during the last five years,” Naseer Ahmad, the vice president of the federation claimed. He alleged that not a single penny had been spent on the terminal to facilitate the transporters. “If the government plans to improve the bus stand, we welcome the initiavtive. We request that the authority be given the funds so the terminal could be improved,” Ahmad said.
On the other hand, Commissioner Khusro Pervaiz insisted that the terminal will be shifted some where near the Ring Road soon. He asked that transporters to consult among themselves “because the city government wants the transporters on board this time. We do not want to repeat past mistakes.” While talking to The Express Tribune, Khusro Pervaiz said that the main reason why the Badami Bagh bus stand was being shifted was “to save the cultural heritage of Lahore”.
“The bus stand is surrounded by the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort and Minar-i-Pakistan. Visiting the monuments is the first thing that foreigners do and the bus terminal and all the chaos created because of it have a bad impact,” the commissioner said.
Pervaiz added that the transporters had converted the bus stand into a “bus depot with a lot of encroachments, which result in traffic jams on the surrounding roads.”The commissioner claimed that during his tenure he had completed every project successfully except two. “The shifting of Ferozepur Road vegetable market and Badami Bagh bus stand are the only two projects I have yet to complete,” Pervaiz said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2010.