The much needed Yellow Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Karachi that had been shelved earlier has now been revived after the World Bank has pledged to fund the entire project. The authorities failed to implement the BRT earlier as the agreements between Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and a Chinese company did not work out. However, the World Bank has agreed to provide financial and technical support for the integrated bus transit system.
Chief Minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah met the Country Director of World Bank Patchamuthu Illangovan at the CM House and made the final decision. The project will connect 6 BRT lines as part of the earlier plan. During the meeting, the WB country director highlighted that their organization is willing to fund the Yellow Line BRT if the provincial government builds the right infrastructure from Dawood Chowrangi in Korangi to the Malir Expressway. In addition, a dozen other projects which are currently being funded by the World Bank were also discussed during the meeting.
The meeting was attended by a delegation of World Bank including the following people:
- Operations Manager, Melinda Good
- Lead Country Economist, Enrique Blanco Armas
- Senior Transport Specialist, Said Dahdah
- Senior Economist, Muhammad Waheed
- Operation Manager, Amena Raja.
Many prominent people from the Pakistani government taking part in the meeting, included the following:
- Planning and Development Minister, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani
- Planning and Development Board Chairperson, Mohammad Waseem
- Principal Secretary to the CM, Sohail Rajput
- Finance Secretary, Hassan Naqvi
- Health Secretary, Dr Fazlullah Pechuho
- Education Secretary, Aziz Uqaili
- Special Irrigation Secretary, Junaid Memon
- Agriculture Secretary, Sajid Jamal Abro
- Livestock and Fisheries Secretary, Mukhtiar Soomro
- Energy Secretary, Agha Wasif
- Planning and Development Secretary, Shireen Narejo
WB senior transport specialist gave briefing to the CM regarding the BRT lines and their connectivity in the city. He stressed that the city needs an adequate system so that the automated ticketing system can work smoothly. Meanwhile, the CM instructed the head of Planning and Development Board to carry out the documentation procedure and send for approval to the WB officials.
The agenda of the meeting covered multiple projects which are currently being financed by World Bank. Overall, WB has a portfolio of $1.55 billion including 12 projects. They include $76.4 million for Sindh Agricultural Growth Project, an irrigation project worth $187 million, $21 million Skill Development Project, $400 million Second Sindh Education Sector project, a $50 million project for reforms in public sector management, $36.24 million project for enhanced nutrition for mothers and children, $100 million Sindh Resilience Project, $86 million Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project, $286.24 million Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project, $61.62 million Sindh Enhancing Response to Reduce Stunting Project and $188 million Sindh Barrage Improvement Project.
What went wrong with BRT project earlier?
Earlier, the massive road project was supposed to be financed by JICA which was later transferred to a Chinese company for financial assistance. It was supposed to be a 26.5 kilometer road spreading from MA Jinnah Road to Landhi with an aggregate worth of Rs14.4 billion.
Additionally, 100 buses were expected to run through this route. However, the project could not be implemented after the Chinese company backed out after delaying the project significantly. The company had also signed an MoU with the government which became void due to shortage of funds.
What is being planned for the revamped BRT project?
During the meeting, the CM requested WB officials to provide technical support which is imperative to regulate the traffic mayhem in Karachi.
While expressing his views about traffic in Karachi, Shah said:
“This megalopolis city has traffic jams and traffic management issues. We have a traffic engineering bureau at the Karachi Development Authority but it also needs to be revived”
He also said:
“Integration of all BRT lines at Numaish can create problems, so we need the WB’s technical support to resolve this matter”
Addressing his request, WB team ensured that all possible technical support will be provided by their team. In order to solve the traffic issue in Karachi, the country director committed the availability of their transport specialists whenever the ministry will seek help.
Therefore, the CM asked Waseem to arrange a meeting between the technical teams of both sides and stated:
“I want you to sit with the experts and develop a proper signal system, traffic management and infrastructure development”
Karachi’s sewerage system might improve!
The CM also requested Illangovan to restructure the sewerage system of Karachi which is currently in a devastating state. He said:
“We want to restructure the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board [KWSB], so we need your help”
The CM further said:
“The KWSB is over-staffed. Their water supply, distribution and bulk systems are weak and defective”
He reminded that the revamp of the sewerage system has already been approved by World Bank.