Quaid’s mausoleum obstruction: Civil society objects on Green Line elevated portion

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KARACHI (July 24):  The Sindh and federal government after a thorough discussions and deliberations had decided to construct a Rs24.6 billion federally-funded Green Line Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) extended portion on M.A Jinnah Road on elevation but the civil society has raised objections.

This was revealed in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here at the CM House Monday. The meeting was attended by Minister Transport Syed Nasir Shah, PD& Principal secretary to Governor Sualeh Farooqi, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Transport Raheem Soomro, DG Mass Transit Authority Mohamad Athar, CFO Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (KIDCL) Zubair Channa, Chief Engineer Green Line Project Nisar Sario.

Project Director Green Line BRTS Sualeh Farooqui said that KIDCL has completed 60 percent of the infrastructure work up to Guru Mandir as per original scope of Green Line BRTS and is all geared up to complete the first phase of the project by the end of December.

It may be noted that originally the project was 18.4 km from Surjani Town to Guru Mandir and now it has been extended to Municipal Park, M.A Jinnah Road and its cost has increased from Rs16 billion to Rs24.6 billion.

He said as per Sindh government approved alignment and the rout of the project, an underpass would be constructed at Numaish roundabout. It would be converging into an elevated BRTS portion short of Taj Complex Signal and up to Municipal Park area near Jamia Cloth Market. He added that the elevated turn around rotary is proposed and designed for construction at Municipal park which would facilitate 19.2 meter articulated buses to turn back towards Surjani town.

Professor Arif Hassan and Professor Nauman who were presented in the meeting said that the civil society led by them have raised an objection on the construction of elevated portion on M.A Jinnah road for the reason that it would obstruct the clear sight of the Quaid’s mausoleum from either side of the road, if elevated BRTS portion is constructed on the median of the MA Jinnah Road. On this, the chief minister was told that the KIDCL has halted bid process for the construction of the elevated portion.

Mohammad Athar DG Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA) of Transport Departmnt said that the decision to construct elevated BRTS portion at M.A Jinnah road was taken by the Sindh government and was communicated to KIDCL. He added that the decision was taken by Sindh transport department after thorough deliberations and discussions on all the other alternate options in the best interest of the Green Line.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the construction of elevated portion was the only option to construct the extended portion of the project at Jamia Cloth. “Since civil society has raised some objection, I would suggest you [MTA and KIDCL) to prepare detailed drawing of the project so that final decision could be taken,” he said and added being an engineer he would personally work on it.

It may be noted that the first phase of Green Line BRTS project would be completed by the end of December 2017. Operation and maintenance part of the project would be managed by the SMTA. The procurement of articulated buses and engaging the operators of the BRTS system is also the responsibility of the SMTA. For the purpose the Sindh Chief Minister has already issued directives to Sindh Transport department to take necessary measures.

Mr Sualeh Farooqui told the chief minister that KIDCL, Ministry of Communication has engaged a German-based consultant to design state of IITS System for the Operation and maintenance of Integrated Transport System which would not only cater to the need of the need of the Orange Line and Green Line BRTS System but would also serve as single platform to cater to the needs of all future BRTS Line as well as Circular Railway.

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