- Says no city can develop without modern transport system
Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated on Friday the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Karachi.
The PM also inspected the infrastructure and received a briefing on how the ticketing system works.
While addressing the ceremony, the PM thanked Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited (SIDCL) and parliamentarians from Karachi for pursuing the project.
He termed Karachi as Pakistan's engine of growth, saying that if Karachi prospers, then Pakistan will prosper.
He said that none of the previous governments paid any attention to Karachi's transportation system.
"I have been seeing Karachi for 50 years. We have seen it transform into a city of ruins because we did not focus on its administration," he said.
The premier noted that the city could not be transformed into a modern city until the removal of administrative flaws. "No modern city can function without modern transport," he said.
Citing the example of the Iranian capital, the premier said while the country was under US sanctions, Tehran had modern facilities because of its efficient management system. "Tehran collects $500 million [in revenue] and spends it through planning. In comparison, Karachi doesn't even collect $30m," he said.
He also called upon the provincial government to develop islands near Karachi into real-estate projects. "Our population is growing. We are building a modern city named Ravi City in Lahore and taking care of the environment there," Imran said.
"Pollution levels are also high in Karachi and it is necessary to have a modern city like the Bundal Island project. When we undertake projects, it is better if we do it collectively with coordination."
While talking about issues faced by the people of Sindh, the PM said that the province had the most depleted health system in the country.
Speaking about health insurance, the premier said even certain developed countries did not have universal healthcare.
“However, under the Sehat Card facility, every household in Punjab will get free healthcare by March of next year,” Khan highlighted, urging the Sindh government to become a part of the federal government's health scheme for the sake of the poor.
Earlier, in a tweet, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that the first of the five big federal government projects included in the Karachi transformation plan is being delivered today.
"Great progress on all others. WE PROMISED... WE ARE DELIVERING," he tweeted.
Last week, Umar revealed that the commercial operations of the Green Line buses will resume on December 25.
Former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had performed the groundbreaking of nearly Rs 17 billion worth project that was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017 but it got delayed several times.
On October 4, the test run of the Green Line BRT began on a 23km route (Surjani Town to Numaish Chowrangi) after the PTI-led federal government inaugurated its trial operation.
At least, 40 buses for the Green Line project arrived in the city in October, raising the number of buses to 80. It is supposed to facilitate the travel of approximately 300,000 passengers daily.
With over 23-kilometer dedicated tracks, the bus service project offers special services for the disabled. The hybrid vehicles will be run on batteries and diesel.