Provinces poles apart over resuming public transport

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: Minister for Transportation Sindh, Awais Shah on Friday stated that the provincial government will keep public transportation suspended, media reported. The minister said that the suspension has been extended due to exponential rise in coronavirus cases in the province.
Shah said that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid out by the government are not being implemented. He added that the Prime Minister of Pakistan himself has confessed that people are not following SOPs. He also said that the matter of resuming public transportation should’ve been discussed in the National Coordination Committee (NCC).
Earlier on May 3, Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) has demanded of the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah to allow them to bring their buses on the roads as Sindh government extended the coronavirus lockdown to the month of Ramadan.
In a letter written from the KTI President Irshad Bokhari, he demanded of the chief minister to resume transport activities in the province. “The poor transporters are passing through worst financial crunch,” he said adding they could not survive any further plans of the lockdown.
The Punjab government has decided to approve the flow of public transport on the roads after Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar gave a green signal to the move despite a rise in coronavirus cases across the province.
CM Punjab asked the officials to provide a plan laying out the Standard Operating Procedures, after a meeting with transporters today. The meeting will be presided over by provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat, and will take place around 3pm. After the session, the provincial government will apprise the Centre about the SOPs and its measures regarding the decision to allow public transport to operate, said sources.
According to sources, the transport will be both intra-city and inter-city.
A report earlier presented to the CM Punjab stated that due to the lockdown and curbs on public transport, the problems of the common people intensified. It said that due to the situation, people were forced to use private vehicles on exorbitant rates.
The report recommended that the transport sector should be allowed to become operational to bring relief to the public.