CHIEF Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the Lahore Transport Company has been set up to provide modern and comfortable transport facilities to people while similar transport companies will also be established in other major cities of the province.

He stated this while addressing the ceremony of signing of an agreement between the Chinese company, Yunma Aircraft, and the Punjab government regarding provision of CNG buses to the province at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat here on Sunday. The Transport secretary and a representative of the Chinese company signed the agreement.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said the provision of better transport facilities to people was his dream which was being materialized after signing of the agreement with the Chinese company. He said the project was being launched from Lahore with the inauguration of a bus service and its scope would be expanded later to other cities, including Rawalpindi, Multan, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Sialkot. He said the underground Metro Train Project in Lahore would be completed with the consultation and cooperation of Iran and China.

Mr Shahbaz said the cooperation in public transport between the Chinese company and the Punjab government was a proof of mutual confidence between China and Pakistan. He said under the project, initially 53 buses would start operating in Lahore while 2,000 buses would run in the city under different phases, out of which, 1,000 buses would be air-conditioned so that the common man might feel equal to the privilege classes. He said the Chinese firm would not only provide buses, but would also operate these buses itself while the Punjab government would provide 25 percent subsidy and cooperation would be extended to the company for the success of the project. He said that under this project, CNG air-conditioned buses would operate in the big cities of Punjab through the Public Private Partnership and the Punjab government would also provide 25 percent subsidy to the private transporters for importing the buses.

The CM said China was a great friend of Pakistan and both the countries had deep-rooted relations. He said the agreement regarding public transport between the Punjab government and the Chinese company would play an important role in further strengthening the ties between both the countries. He said the buses would have been started operating on the roads of Lahore a long time ago but due to the Governor’s rule in the province, the project was delayed. He said due to the efforts of the Punjab minister for transport, chief secretary, transport secretary, the project was being implemented. The chief minister said a comprehensive system had been evolved for transport in the big cities of the province negotiations with nine different international companies were underway. He said China should provide assistance to Punjab in the project of underground metro train in Lahore as it helped Iran in its project of underground train. He said in order to promote economic cooperation between China and Punjab, China Desk had been established headed by former Consular of Pakistan to China Zafar Mehmood.

Charge De Affairs of Chinese Embassy in Pakistan Mr Xyo Xeng while addressing the ceremony said that his country would extend all possible cooperation in agriculture, livestock, infrastructure, mass transit system and other projects in Pakistan. He said the Chinese company was providing buses for the provision of transport facilities to the Lahorites, adding that historic relations existed between China and Pakistan and the agreement in transport sector would prove to be anther milestone in this regard.

Provincial Minister for Transport Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman and the transport secretary also spoke on the occasion.

Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Provincial Minister for Finance Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, members national and provincial assemblies, chief secretary and representative of Chinese company and other senior officers were also present.

Earlier, Chief Minister launched the CNG air-conditioned bus service by cutting the ribbon and travelled in the bus along with the provincial ministers, members national and provincial assemblies up to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

Source: The News