Metro pro­ject: Crit­i­cism vs re­al­ity

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Tahira Irfa Email:

IT is a usual prac­tice to travel in pub lic trans­port all over the world and for this pur­pose peo­ple are pro­vided with com­fort­able buses and trains as well as ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers. Un­for­tu­nately, in our coun­try, the sit­u­a­tion is to­tally on the op­po­site di­rec­tion. Daily ba­sis ac­ci­dents due to in­ex­pe­ri­enced and il­lit­er­ate drives, no emer­gency exit doors in buses, cheap and sub-stan­dard cylin­ders fixed in mo­tor Rick­shaws and vans that end up in burst­ing and num­ber of other as­so­ci­ated fac­tors put peo­ple lives at great risk.

Apart from this, short­age of pub­lic trans­port means i.e. buses and vans forced peo­ple await­ing con­veyance for hours. In ad­di­tion, be­hav­ior of the bus/ van con­duc­tors adds in­sult to the in­jury. Their usual prac­tice to dis­re­spect the women, thrust­ing in and drag­ging out pas­sen­gers from the mov­ing ve­hi­cles, over-load­ing the buses as they are just con­cerned about their pock­ets which have noth­ing to do with the com­fort of pas­sen­gers. All th­ese bit­ter truths de­mand a de­cent pub­lic bus ser­vice. In or­der to over­come th­ese prob­lems to a com­mon man, Min­is­ter of Pun­jab in­au­gu­rated Tabeer Trans­port Ser­vice meant only for ladies. It has been able to let down their trans­port is­sues to some ex­tent. But as we all know RWP/ISB are con­sid­ered among the top 10 densely pop­u­lated cities and it holds most of the work­ing in­di­vid­u­als. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey, al­most 0.2 mil­lion peo­ple move fro, RWP to ISB for jobs, uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges. Tak­ing into ac­count this huge is­sue, Chief Min­is­ter Pun­jab Muham­mad Shah­baz Sha­reef, acted upon his prom­ise that he made dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign and fi­nally ini­ti­ated the Metro bus pro­ject for Pindi/Islamabad.

Irony of the sit­u­a­tion is that rather this no­ble cause is be­ing ap­pre­ci­ated it was highly con­demned just for po­lit­i­cal tus­sles. Ig­nor­ing all this, CM con­cen­trated at his work and fi­nally com­pleted it in record time. Now they are giv­ing sleazy re­marks about its de­sign and con­struc­tion by point­ing out some flooded sta­tions dur­ing this heavy rain­fall sea­son. But they are to­tally un­aware of fact that there is a stan­dard struc­ture of metro across the globe ei­ther it is Lon­don, Paris or Delhi metro.

It con­sists of sin­gle par­al­lel tracks with com­monly used roads. Metro usu­ally have un­der­ground pas­sages and over­head tracks to avoid hin­drance of com­mon traf­fic. Thus metro shares same level of ser­vices and is­sues in most of the ar­eas where it has been im­ple­mented. The un­der­ground sta­tions of Delhi & Lon­don were also flooded due to rain in re­cent years. This is be­cause of ex­ces­sive rain and it is called force ma­jeure which is not in con­trol of hu­man. The best way to con­trol it is pump­ing out the wa­ter as quickly as pos­si­ble and this sys­tem is al­ready in­stalled in ev­ery Metro sta­tion. How­ever, ig­nor­ing all th­ese crit­i­cism for sake of crit­i­cism, com­mon man id fully en­joy­ing the qual­ity trav­el­ling ser­vice. They ac­cept that it is not only for their trav­el­ling com­fort but will en­hance beauty of city as well as help­ful for a clean en­vi­ron­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Mu­das­sir Ma­lik, a RWP based worker of ISB NGO, “I had to travel to­ward ISB daily from RWP. In past, I had to hire a cab at higher rates as pub­lic trans­port not only rusty and old but usu­ally late as well. Now I am a reg­u­lar user of Metro ser­vice and found it quiet sat­is­fac­tory both in terms of ser­vices and charges.” A stu­dent of SKANS, Hira Shahzad added, “It had been very dif­fi­cult for me to at­tend my last class in evening as my par­ents were not com­fort­able to let me travel by cab late in the evening and pub­lic trans­port was just like hell. I am happy now that af­ter Metro Ser­vice, I had not missed even a sin­gle class of mine”. Ta­sawar Shah, an old man of 72, ex­pressed his views “I am now com­fort­able to travel ei­ther it is a visit to hos­pi­tal for my reg­u­lar check-up or for pen­sion”. — The writer is free­lance colum­nist based in Rawalpindi.

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