LAHORE At a time when the City is facing worst-ever shortage of public transport to cater to the needs of its spiralling population, the tussle between the Punjab government and the transporters over the subsidy issue is turning over 500 buses into scrap. Though at least 150 buses became useless due to excessive delays, the transporters are still unwilling to bring rest of the buses on the roads. The official sources believe that the cash-strapped provincial government is unable to give subsidy to the transporters, though earlier the authorities promised to give grant to them in public interest. The transporters are claiming Rs two billion due subsidy towards the government but they are willing to bring their buses on routes after payment of Rs 50 million in terms of bank clearness and about Rs 0.5 million per bus subsidy by the Punjab government. At present about 350 stationed buses of Niazi Express, the Bloch Transport Company, the Premier Bus Service and other transport companies could be brought at routes, if the Punjab government paid subsidy to them, said Arshad Khan Niazi, general secretary Urban Transport Owners Association, while talking to TheNation. We are willing to get even the meagre amount just by keeping in mind the commuters problems. To a question, he said the LTC and the district administration, instead of utilising huge money on their own perks and privileges, should give attention to the public woes. He revealed that once he had put the idea before the Punjab CM for importing reconditioned buses from Japan, which might cost not more than Rs one million. The CM was not willing to allow import of reconditioned buses but only the new one, he added. He said the reconditioned buses, already in use at intra-city routes, could be run under the government check and balance. There would be considerable increase in urban transport in short period by adding the 350 old buses and by importing reconditioned buses from Japan, he claimed. He said that the idea was very inexpensive but the typical bureaucracy and the LTC was the hurdle in implementation. As for as the LTC Thursdays (today) claim is concerned that '250 old buses have been identified for refurbishment and requisite resources are being provided for the same buses, Niazi said the transporters were unaware about the buses which the LTC was talking about. We are not on board and do not know from where the LTC will choose old buses for refurbishment. Without taking local transporters on board, the bureaucratic style announcements would never bring solution to the urban transport system, he said. This is worth mentioning that currently, a total of 200 buses are serving the public on 53 routes in Lahore. When the LTC was formed in 2009, the number of buses was around 750. They said the buses were not profitable because they had not been getting a promised operational subsidy from the LTC since 2007.