Karachi: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is facing difficulty to run 73 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses under a pilot-project due to lack of funds.
The fleet of 73 CNG buses is standing at Surjani Bus Terminal. The pilot-project which was initiated by Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal in 2009 ran successfully in the city till February 2012 but this project was suspended by the KMC administration due to lack of funding from Sindh government.
Talking to PPI, Director KMC Transport and Communication Department, Muhammad Athar, said that the project was initiated by Syed Mustafa Kamal from funds available with the city government. “This project was solely initiated by KMC with an investment of Rs 330 million. Sindh government was not involved in this project,” he said.
Additional Director KMC Transport and Communication Department, Iftikhar Hussain, told PPI that the bus service was suspended due to lack of funds from provincial government. “We had 75 buses in our fleet but two of them fell prey to violence in Karachi and were burnt to ashes.”
Hussain said that bus service was halted due to non-payment to filling stations and closure of gas stations for two days a week. Contradictory to private buses, these CNG buses have cylinders, having a capacity of 100 kg gas. CNG stations prefer to fill gas in private buses as they consume less gas and their payments are in cash, he said.
“We do not pay cash, instead our department directly pays to their companies, therefore, it created a debt, causing halt in the bus service.”
He said that after standing for almost a year in bus terminal, maintenance problems had also occurred in these buses, however, he said that they were not on large-scale that could not be tackled.
He said that the current fare of the bus was also a major cause of concern as it was not enough to recover maintenance charges. “We were charging Rs 20 but that was not enough to run buses. It is now in the hands of Administrator Karachi, Rauf Akhter Farooqui, to increase fare of the bus so that expenses regarding payments of employees and maintenance could be recovered.”
When contacted, Minister for Transport, Mumtaz Jakhrani, said that they had nothing to do with this project as transport department was not involved in it. “This project was solely initiated by City district government. They were also giving subsidy for overcoming expenses but now they were not able to run the project.”