Keeping in mind the ongoing energy crisis, which is one of the worst to hit the country, the government of Sindh has agreed to present a minimum of 500 wide buses equipped with diesel engines instead of the intended fleet of environmentally conscious CNG buses, numbering 1,000 for use in the metropolis.
Reasons for Postponing the Project Indefinitely
The plan had to be changed considering the fact that the CNG buses were more than likely to meet with shortage of fuel, in this case CNG, if they had been introduced on the major routes of the country. The situation would then only serve to pressurize the already overburdened national exchequer. Apart from that, there is always the probable risk of failure of such a vital project.
According to sources, the long pending project, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Transport Programme, which involves billions, cannot be expected to occur as the long as the current government was in power. The federal government had declared the project way back in the year 2006-07 and had estimated the cost to be around Rs. 2.5 billion. However, the project was pushed back after the government of Sindh showed no amount of interest in the matter.
Sources also revealed that seeing the indifferent attitude of the Sindh authorities along with the interference of politics, the Asian Development Bank, the financier of the project, gradually backed out. Apart from that, the Centre even refused to offer the assured financial assistance amounting to Rs 700,000 for each vehicle, citing economic crisis as the cause.
They issued a statement claiming that the transport department of Sindh had put forward two appeals to the Centre to provide support so that the project could go ahead as planned. But apparently the federal establishment exhibited lack of enthusiasm since the project would cost close to Rs 5 billion.
Impact of the Project
A total of 500 CNG buses were supposed to be brought in Karachi under the green project by the month of February in 2008. In contrast, almost a thousand buses were to be introduced throughout the whole province. If sources are to be believed, out of these, 600 buses were allotted which would ply on the various intercity roads present in the metropolitan. The Karachi-Sukkur route and the Karachi-Hyderabad routes would each be initially presented with a 100 buses. 50 buses were assigned for each of the three routes of Mirpurkhas, Khairpur-Benazirabad and Karachi-Larkana. The timely implementation of the programme was supposed to have provided thousands of inexperienced and skilled youths with some definite means of employment.
The federal government is said to have informed the government of Sindh that the green project would not be able to operate due to the shortage of funds and the desperate lack of energy bothering the country at the moment. Additionally, it would not be feasible to meet the provision of almost 1,000 CNG buses. In its place, the government is deliberating the removal of CNG cylinders which are installed in the buses and vans in order to avoid more gas crisis.