ISLAMABAD: Islamabad International Airport, the latest addition to the capital’s expanding infrastructure, lacks a public transport system even after months of the inauguration and operationalisation, as authorities have left airport employees and travelers at the mercy of taxi drivers and ride-sharing apps.
The metro bus extension project is far from completion as work on it moves on snail’s pace. The residents of the federal capital had started questioning the viability of the extension of the metro bus to the new airport as the approved route of the extension is not going through the main sectors and areas, and thus the authority may have to launch a shuttle service to bring passengers to the metro stations.
Also, the entire project was expected to be completed by August 14, 2017, in line with directions from the then prime minister to compliment the newly-built airport. It is also noted that according to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study of the MBS project conducted by the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK), around a thousand trees of up to 110 years had become prey to the Metro Bus Service (MBS) which is being extended from Peshawar Morr to connect the city to the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA).
It is pertinent to mention here that the claims made by the NHA that the infrastructure work for the project will not affect the current layout of the Kashmir Highway have proved wrong. As the ongoing construction of the highway comes after a mere year when it was expanded by the same government.
Unlike the existing metro bus project which has elevated tracks, the metro bus extension has two parallel lanes constructed along the Kashmir Highway and the motorway. There are some new flyovers or underpasses added on the Kashmir Highway and the motorway.
According to the extension, two main interchanges have been constructed at Golra Morr and N-5 (GT Road). The project of 26.5km would be divided into two packages – Peshawar Mor to G-13, and from G-13 to the N-5 interchange. Construction of four interchanges and 14 stopovers (stations) is also part of the project.
“The delay in the completion of mega projects whose price run in billions of rupees commenced by the previous government in major cities poses new challenges to the present government. It is about time that the new government must show strictness and put in place a stringent mechanism of check and balances,” said a government official who wished not to be named.