Punjab decides in principle to reopen public transport


LAHORE: A week after the lockdown was eased, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Friday granted in-principle approval for resumption of public transport across the province. Sources relayed the chief minister has issued directives for working out standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that public transport be reopened to facilitate the common man. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat will preside over a meeting to finalise the SOPs. After the finalisation of the guidelines, the provincial government will take the federal government into confidence before permitting public transport to hit the road. In a report presented to the chief minister, it was stated that the common man had to face hardships because of suspension of public transport as part of preventive measures to stem the spread of the virus. It stressed the need for restoration of public transport to provide relief to the public as well as transporters. Earlier, on May 7, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced lifting of the lockdown in phases starting May 9. Subsequently, various construction-related industries and markets were allowed to resume operations across the country under strict SOPs. Public transport was not opened because of the provinces’ reservations. The prime minister had said he believed public transport should be opened because it is the common man’s means of transport and that the government wants to make the lives of people easier.