ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Metro Bus Service is undoubtedly one of the best developmental projects of the world.
In his speech at the launching ceremony held at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad Thursday, the Chief Minister said originally 44 billion rupees were allocated for the project and the cost also included construction of five billion rupee Peshawar Morr which was not strictly part of the Metro Bus Project. He said if five billion rupees are deduced then the cost of metro bus project comes to 39 billion rupees.
The Chief Minister said there are 14 under-passes and fourteen pedestrian flyovers on the route of the Metro Bus. There was also 32 kilometer footpaths on both sides of the track and 45 kilometer drains besides 23 kilometers of service roads.
Shahbaz Sharif said as people from across the country reside in the twin cities, it would be appropriate to call the project as Pakistan Metro Bus Project.
He also referred to presence of leadership of the four provinces at the inaugural ceremony of the project and said their presence at the launching of the project is symbol of national unity and solidarity. He said Pakistan can progress and march forward only if the four federating units work together.
The Chief Minister said the Prime Minister would soon lay foundation stone of Metro Bus project in Multan, which would also be completed in record time.
He said Nawaz Sharif not only gave vision of motorways to the country but also took courageous decision of going nuclear in 1998 to make Pakistan’s defence invincible. Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan is going to become an Asian Tiger especially in the backdrop of historic announcement of the Chinese President to invest 43 billion dollars in Pakistan in different sectors.
He said this is investment and not loan and it is for us to capitalize on the opportunity to transform lot of the country. He said this single largest economic package China has ever given to any country of the world. This is confidence of China in the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he will deliver.
He said world class construction of the Metro Bus project is a sort of soft revolution and there is need to bring about such soft revolution in every field.
The Chief Minister thanked Turkey for its cooperation and assistance in the implementation of the project and said a Turkish company has got contract for running of buses through transparent tendering.
He recommended Pride of Performance for Commissioner Rawalpindi Zahid Saeed who worked hard to realize the dream of the project into a reality.
The Chief Minister said he would extend all possible cooperation to Chief Minister KPK for implementation of similar project in Peshawar.
Chairman Bus Project Hanif Abbasi said Metro Bus has become a reality despite propaganda of the critics.
He thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for provision of modern traveling facility, which has also added to beauty of landscape of the twin cities.
Hanif Abbasi said the Government has given handsome compensation to those whose properties were affected due to construction of the project.
He said the Punjab Government has set up a state of the art Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. An Institute of Urology is about to complete besides technical training institutions and eleven stadia. He said a stadium of international standard is also being constructed in Rawalpindi.
A dedicated signal-free track of twenty-three kilometer has been constructed between Islamabad Secretariat to Saddar Rawalpindi with twenty-four stations equipped with modern facilities to facilitate the commuters of twin cities.
Project Director and Commissioner Rawalpindi gave a briefing about concept and implementation of the project and salient features of the bus service.
The 23-kilometer signal free corridor of international standard has been constructed in just 14 months despite various challenges. Its total cost is 44.84 billion rupees including an Interchange at Peshawar Morr at a cost of five billion rupees.
Rawalpindi portion of 8.6 kilometer road is overhead track.
There are 24 state-of-the-art bus stations on the route of the Metro Bus Service – ten in Rawalpindi and fourteen in the Federal Capital. These stations have modern facilities like computerized ticketing system, escalators, elevators for special persons and Wi-Fi.
In all, 68 buses have started operating on the route as of today and each bus has a capacity of 150 passengers.
Moreover, around one hundred and fifty thousand commuters will benefit from this service daily.
The ceremony was attended by members of the Federal Cabinet, Governor Punjab Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Governor KPK Sardar Mehtab Ahmad, Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik, political leaders, members of the parliament, members of the diplomatic community in Islamabad and senior officials. NNI