Friday, 12 February 2016

Karachi needs colossal investment in public transport

Karachi city is bigger than 85 member countries of the UN, spread over hundreds of square kilometers and has a population touching 25 million. One of its biggest problem is lack of an efficient and quality public transport system. This has resulted in exceptionally large number of cars and motorcycles plying on the roads. This on one hand costs the country billions of dollars spent on import of fuel and causes worst traffic jams. The added problems are waste of hours of commuters, burning of extra fuel and emission of huge quantity of toxic fumes. This demands complete revamping of public transport, which is not possible without investing millions of dollars.
While Punjab government headed by PML-N is spending billions of rupees annually, Sindh government headed by PPP seems least concerned about providing a decent public transport for the people of Karachi which contributes lion’s share to the national exchequer. In the past some efforts were made by the City District Government by introducing CNG driven buses. While the number of vehicles were to be increased with the passage of time, the contrary has happened. Even the number of ages-old buses has declined. The situation at present is that people have buy cars and motorcycles on cash, as hardly any financing facility is available.
This blog is aimed at attracting attention of overseas investors, particularly from Japan which has the largest investment in automobile assembly business in Pakistan. JICA is financing various projects in Pakistan and it needs to be convinced that sale of Japanese brands will improve earnings of the sponsors of these companies. It is believed that JICA is exploring the possibility of reviving ‘Circular Railway’, which is like a futile effort to make a dead man walk.
Karachi needs nearly 3,000 long chassis buses that can carry minimum 100 passengers at a time. A consortium can be formed that can also mobilize funds from local stock market by listing a public limited company. In the first phase 250 buses may be inducted and then 100 buses per month. The consortium can comprises of buss, tyre and battery manufacturers besides some financial institutions.

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