Courtesy:- Malik M Ashraf

Tuesday, June 02, 2015 - MEANS of communication and transportation are universally regarded as essential ingredients of economic progress, social integration and indispensable tools of public facilitation. It is needless to emphasize that expansion in the communication network (building and improvement of roads) and provision of efficient means of transportation are one of the basic responsibilities of the governments in regards to accelerating the process of economic growth , keeping pace with the rapidly changing world, giving a touch of modernity to the communication infrastructure and improving the standard of services provided to the masses. 

Therefore viewed in the backdrop of the foregoing, the knack of the PML (N) government to build motorways, wider highways conforming to international standards, opting for building economic corridors, improvement of roads by building overhead bridges and underpasses and the provision of the most modern and efficient transportation systems in the big cities of the country—notwithstanding the cynical opprobrium directed at such projects—— is indeed a visionary initiative. And the dividends of the projects completed and in hand are quite discernible to the public as well as people visiting these cities from other areas or from outside the country. Lahore has a completely changed architectural aura. The metro Bus project in Lahore, completed in record time and construction of more than 26 Km elevated corridor for operating the most modern transport system, is undoubtedly a leap towards modernity and progress.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus system, a joint project of the Federal and Punjab government on 50:50 cost sharing basis ( total cost Rs.44 billion) which is nearing completion and soon become operational, is yet another undertaking of the similar nature. This initiative is very much a necessity-driven undertaking designed to ease the pressure of the burgeoning vehicular traffic on the only arterial link between the twin-cities and to avoid frequent traffic jams and above all saving the public from the hardships that they have to endure while travelling between the two cities at the hands of private transporters and the vagaries of the sub-standard service that they provide.

The 22.6 Km long corridor on which the metro bus would ply has been imaginatively conceived. The 8.6 Km section in Rawalpindi that runs through the length of the Murre Road up to Faizabad is an elevated road and is one of the architectural marvels and a symbol of modernity. The rest of the 14 KM section of the metro bus route is in Islamabad. The planners of the corridor have made sure that it passes through the areas, especially in Islamabad, which were not covered by the private transporters and where some of the colleges, universities and major hospitals were located. The route could very well have gone on along the Islamabad Highway onto the Jinnah Avenue and then straight onto Pak Secretariat. That would have reduced the distance as well as the cost. 

Bu the actual purpose of the project was not to facilitate only the commuters travelling to their work places in Islamabad or to make it convenient for the government servants to reach the Secretariat but also to facilitate the general public, the patients needing to reach hospitals without loss of time and the students travelling to and back from their educational institutions.

The tourists coming to the twin cities would also be attracted to travel by this efficient system of transportation that would provide them a good opportunity of sight-seeing in both the cities besides having a feel of the cultural life of the area. As is evident, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus project is a multipurpose venture stemming from the commitment of the federal and Punjab government in regards to public facilitation and improvement in the architectural profile of the twin cities. 


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