The Mass Transit Project Multan is likely to be launched either by the end of ongoing year or the beginning of next one as an eight-month long study is being launched by the Punjab Government to weigh the feasibility of the project, The Nation has learnt.
The study will be conducted by a Turkish enterprise Usmani Company and its experts will stay in Multan for the next eight months. Sources said that the study will determine that out of Bus, Light Rail or Metro (underground) which system is appropriate for Multan. The experts of Usmani Company are going to utilize Transcard and Transmodeler softwares for conducting this study for the first time in Pakistan.
The Multan Metro project had been promised by the Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while addressing a public meeting here in Multan during the last leg of campaign before election 2013. The Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif materialized the promise of his elder brother and party chief by announcing Metro for three big cities of Punjab including Multan on February 3. Although the CM claimed in his statement that the Multan Metro would take 10 months to become functional, the project is likely to take more time.
Multan Divisional Commissioner Sher Alam Mehsood confirmed the launching of the study for the project. “Yes the study is being launched and we have asked the public representatives to submit their proposals on this project as soon as possible,” he added.
The Public representatives have proposed different routes for the bus. A route proposed by the Chairman of Punjab Assembly’s Standing Committee for Sports, Youth and Culture Mian Shahzad Maqbool Bhutta stated that the Metro Bus should begin its journey from Vehari Chowk/General Bus Stand and terminate at Industrial Estate via BCG Chowk, Chungi No-14, Daulat Gate, Ghanta Ghar, Nawan Shehr, Dera Adda, Aziz Hotel Chowk, Muzaffarabad and Industrial Estate. He also proposed that a supplementary route between Ghanta Ghar and Bahauddin Zakariya University via Chungi No-9 and Bosan Road should be added to the plan. Sources said that the proposal is supported by the provincial minister Ch. Abdul Waheed Arrain.
Similarly, senator Javed Ali Shah proposed that the main route of Metro Bus should start from Chowk Nag Shah and end at to-be-established New Kachehri in Matti Tal area. “Besides residents of Multan, it will also facilitate the residents of Shujabad and Jalalpur Pirwala tehsils too,” the senator, who has been an MNA from Shujabad asserted.
An MPA Rana Tahir Shabbir told this scribe that he had also forwarded his proposals by e-mail while provincial minister Ch Abdul Waheed Arrain claimed that the project would get the city rid of traffic problems for next 50 years.
Some public representatives, however, oppose the project. “It’s not as good a project as being portrayed. Multan is a congested city with narrow roads. It will bring big devastation as the government needs to bring almost half of the city down for widening roads for it,” they maintained while talking to this scribe on condition of anonymity. “The government can revamp transport system of Multan by increasing the number of small vehicles used for public transportation with the investment of just one or two billion rupees instead of spending dozens of billions on Metro,” they added