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Monday, March 24, 2014

PML-N government fulfils longstanding demand of residents

PML-N government fulfills longstanding demand of residents


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, with the laying of foundation-stone of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service Project on Sunday, have fulfilled a longstanding demand of the residents of the twin cities with regard to provision of a modern transport system to them.

After the closure of Varan Tours Bus Service in the PML-Q government, the residents of Rawalpindi, facing problems, had been demanding a modern transport service. In the previous governments, high officials and concerned transport authorities had been making promises to the people in this regard, however, they failed to materialise them.

However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who promised the residents a mass transit project for their twin cities during the PML-N election campaign last year, soon after coming into power, directed the concerned officials to prepare a plan for the Metro Bus Service Project.

In January 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave approval to the Metro Bus Project and directed the concerned authorities to 0initiate work on the scheme. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, on February 1, 2014 in the light of the directions of the prime minister, gave approval to this project in a meeting of the Punjab Cabinet and work was immediately started for fulfilling the requirements and tender process for the project.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project is being implemented as per vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif with the objective of providing an international standard mass transit system to the residents of the twin cities. The total cost of the Metro Bus Project is about Rs44.21 billion.

Federal and provincial governments would contribute 50% each of the total cost. The route of the Metro Bus Service would start from Flashman’s Hotel Chowk, Rawalpindi, and end at Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, after covering a distance of 23.2 kilometres.

Similarly, the portion of Metro Bus Service in Rawalpindi from Flashman’s Hotel to Faizabad, having a distance of 8.6 kilometres, would be on elevated track, while from Faizabad to Pakistan Secretariat via IJP Road and 9th Avenue up to the destination having a distance of 14.6 kilometres, will be ground road.

A total of 24 modern stations for passengers would be built on route out of which 10 will be on Benazir Road and the remaining 14 will be in Islamabad. Initially, 60 buses would be plied on the route and more than 150,000 passengers would benefit from the project.

About 29 kanals of land would be acquired for the project out of which about 20 kanals would be acquired on Benazir Bhutto Road, Rawalpindi. According to high-ups in the city district government, including the Rawalpindi commissioner, there would be no environmental effects of the project as no greenbelt would be affected during the construction of the project and this project would also have no effect on the overall master plan of the capital.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service Project is being undertaken keeping in view the long-run mass transit requirements of the twin cities and if in future the load of passengers is increased, the Metro Train, after laying its track, might also be run on this track.

According to higher authorities in the city district government, the PEPRA and other related laws have been strictly followed to ensure transparency in the project and there would be no compromise on construction standards of the project. Keeping in view the experiences of Lahore Metro Bus Service Project, the prime minister and the chief minister have directed the concerned authorities to ensure completion of the project on better level and standards so it may cater to the long-term requirements of mass transit system.