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Metro train service in twin cities still a dream
 
FATEHJANG: The metro train service in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad is still a dream, as the Punjab government has not granted a No Objection Certificate (NoC) to the Railways Ministry to initiate the project despite the passage of six months, it is learnt.

Sources told Daily Times on Monday that the ministry had written in March to the Punjab chief minister for the NoC to start the train service in the twin cities and had sent three reminders in April, May and June, but the Punjab government had not responded. “The ministry will take up the matter with the prime minister to solve the problem,” said the sources, adding that the ministry had chalked out the plan to introduce the train service on the directives of the prime minister and president. “Sources said the federal government had more interest in the project as the increasing number of vehicles, insufficient roads infrastructure and poor traffic management had made driving on the twin cities’ roads a nightmare. “Islamabad, being a centre of economic and service activities, is attracting traffic from all over the country and a significant growth of both cities needs improved commuting facilities,” they said. Sources said that mobility between the two cities was a major problem being faced by the residents daily, adding that there was no organised bus service operating in the capital and between the twin cities.

According to statistics of the Regional Transport Authority, around 1,600 vans and minibuses travelled on 16 routes within the capital and between the twin cities. It is estimated that around 158,000 passengers travel by public transport daily between the two cities. Sources said that around 20 international companies, including those from China, Germany and UK had expressed interest in the project. They said the feasibility study would be conducted by the end of September once the ministry obtained the NoC from the Punjab government. They said the ministry would form a committee comprising of members from the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board, the Chaklala Cantonment Board and the Rawalpindi district government to monitor the metro train service’s routes. They said the experts had suggested four routes, including Sihala to Barri Imam, Chaklala Railway Station to Faisal Masjid via Pirwadhai, Fateh Jang to Secretariat and Rawalpindi Railway Station to Pakistan Secretariat, adding that the final decision would be taken after the feasibility study in consultation with the monitoring committee.

 


20-08-2007 00:15 Aamir Yasin
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