Saturday Jan 04, 2020
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday directed the provincial transport department to complete the construction of Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project’s track within the next four months, reported The News.
Named after philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, the Orange Line BRT is a 3.9-kilometres long project. It connects Orangi Town’s Town Municipal Administration (TMA) ground with the Board Office in Nazimabad. Its construction, which started in 2016, is still ongoing.
Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah briefed the chief minister, and said that the ongoing work on Orange Line project was almost in its final stages. To this, CM Shah directed him to complete it within the next four months and in the meantime start the procedure for the procurement of at least 25 buses for the project.
“I want the best buses to be procured. They can have the seating capacity of 40 passengers and 80 standing passengers or they can be long buses with double capacity,” he said.
The chief minister also told the subordinating department to start preparations for the tender of the Red Line (BRT), which will connect Model Colony with Mazar-e-Quaid. He said that he plans on performing the project's groundbreaking ceremony on August 14 this year.
The chief minister issued the directives regarding the two projects on Friday as he presided over a meeting to review their progress at the CM House.
The meeting was attended by the transport minister, Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Adviser to the CM on Law and Environment Murtaza Wahab, Acting Chief Secretary Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to the CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Local Government Secretary Roshan Shaikh, Transport Secretary Abbas Detho and others.
Despite the fact that the Orange Line BRT track’s length is less than four kilometres, the project has faced extraordinary delay. Officials of the provincial government blame the presence of unmarked underground utility infrastructure such as water, sewerage, power, telephone and gas lines for the delay.
The same issue, however, was faced by the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company during the construction of the Green Line track, which is over five times larger in length than the Orange Line. The SIDCL still managed to get Green Line’s route completed.
Earlier this week, an official of the Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA), on condition of anonymity, told The News that the cost of the project has increased manifold due to “unprecedented delays in the project”.
The chief minister also advised the transport minister to talk to the Green Line project’s management or the federal government so that buses of similar look and identical capacity could be purchased for the Green Line BRT.
The chief minister said that he had already approved Rs962 million for the construction of an underpass with a mezzanine floor at Numaish Chowrangi as part of the Green Line. The finance department has referred the matter to a sub-committee of the cabinet which would submit its report for the release of the amount.
To a query, CM Shah was told that the land for the Green Line bus depot in Surjani Town had been transferred in the name of the project, and that the local government department would issue a notification in this regard by Monday.
The chief minister further directed the transport department to enter into a facilitation and implementation agreement with the Green Line project’s management to make it functional.
Originally published in The News