Road to progress is now open

Hats off for Shehbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, who has spearheaded the execution of the biggest ever development project in the three thousand year’s history of Lahore. Unlike the forts and gardens of Mughals, which had a limited use, Metro Bus System of Shehbaz Sharif is now ready to benefit the millions of residents this great city and bringing them a revolutionary change in their life styles.
With the inauguration of Metro Bus System, road to progress is now open. Construction of this 27 Kilometers long track from Gajju Matta to Shahdra has not only connected the two far-flung destination points with one single thoroughfare, it has also accomplished the biggest, longest and a cost effective development project in the history of this great metropolis, Lahore.Plying of articulated buses under this system has provided not only a safe and swift mode of transport to the commuters, it has also given them a sense of being honoured and respected. Indeed the completion of this land-mark project will usher in a new era in Pakistan, especially in Lahore and will become a big leap towards the provision of civic facilities of international standard in the provincial metropolis.
It is very encouraging that this 27 km-long project, from Gajjumatta to Shahdra, has been completed with a minimum cost of around Rs 30 billion, an amount 9 times less than the underground project as planned by previous provincial Government. It is to be noted that the feasibility study of the underground, Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (LRMTS), as suggested by the previous provincial government, estimated the cost of Rs 250 billion. Certainly, the current economic situation did not allow to for the much-hyped project; therefore, the PMLN government, which believes in optimum use of available resources, selected the MBS which is easy to supervise, maintain & repair when necessary. It must be kept in mind that this project has got a compatible capacity for future expansion n extension when required, in addition to benefit of its durable n strong infrastructure which may be utilized for even Trains in future, if opted so.
The early completion of this project within a shortest span of just one year has beaten the record of even its mother country Turkey where 42 km of Metro System took 3 years to complete.
The project includes the construction of a 8.6 km long overhead bridge, the biggest in length in the whole Asia, to ensure the easy and fast flow of traffic on the already existing ground roads in the region. Pre cost Tranzums i.e., pre-fabricated parts of the bridge are utilized for the first time in Pakistan. 48 such units are raised from Tamasil Centre Ferozepur road to Nohar Wala Chowk, Lytton Road. Each unit weigh 90 Tons and is 9.8 m long, 2.7 m wide and 2.2 m high which are placed on the upper edges of the 5 meter high pillars prepared for the bridge. The girders and the slabs are placed over to complete the bridge completion, without any shuttering material. These pre cost units are fabricated in a Nespak approved factory on Multan Road. From where these are shifted to the site and placed accordingly, with help of heavy lifters.
115 long buses, having three times more capacity than the normal bus does have, will be running on the MBS corridors shortly, out of which 45 buses have already reached Lahore, after these landed in Karachi from China. These Volvo China buses will cost Rs 1.26 billion @ 280 million each. Keeping in mind the local Traffic System, these buses are converted into right steering ones. Each bus is 18 metres in length with 150 passengers` capacity, having separate compartments for ladies & gents. MBS bis will cover the 27 km distance from Gajjumatta to Shahdara within just 45 minutes which seems quite impossible under prevailing system of congested traffic in the city. The design speed of Metro bus is 40 kilometres per hour. The time table for these modern busses is framed in such a way that the new bus will be available at each station after every 3 minutes. Metro bus will carry 8000 passengers per hour and hence will be able to transfer atleast one lac persons in 14 working hours per day.
The latest ticketing system is also being introduced at each Metro station, along with other necessary facilities for the passengers. Another important feature of the project is the construction of 32 overhead bridges, one at every kilometer of the main carraige way in average, for the pedestrians. The bridges are accomplished with automatic staircases to faciliate the passengers. Eleven parking places have also been included with the MBS corridor, to facilitate the parking of the public vehicles of the passengers, who opt to reach MBS station on their own vehicles to travel on a Metro bus for a long distance.
To take care of the public interests, Punjab government has made the payments to the private owners of the land utilized for the project on district Price Assessment Committee Rates, as per law n rules. Rs 1.80 billion has been already provided to the Land Acquisition Collector. A three days special One Window Camp was arranged from 20th to 22nd December 2010 in Jinnah Hall Lahore, to ensure these payments to the owners the owners of the land acquired, on the instructions of the Chief Minister of Punjab. All conderned officials including from Revenue remained present in the camp with the necessary record and the payments were made through cheques to the relevant perons.
Another important factor of implementation of the project is that it also maximizes economic benefits of the people, in shape of many employment opportunities already generated in construction phase which will be increased to many times during operational stages, hence will serve affluently to the poor n unemployed people when hundreds of the people will be need as bus staff, security staff, in control rooms and other places of the route. Thousands of the people are also being employed for the new traffic n security agencies meant for the project. Most of them will be recruited out of retired service men. These newly appointed persons will be trained in Elite Training School in a special manner.