A number of Green Line (GL) bus projects were started in Karachi. Former City Nazim, Naimatullah Khan, started importing buses from Sweden; and former City Nazim, Mustafa Kamal, reared the project with locally manufactured Hinopak and Daewoo buses. And now, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has also started the project but the interesting thing is that all these Green Line project busses run on the same route from Surjani Town to MA Jinnah Road.

There are so many routes on which the buses can run, but why does everyone want to start the project on the same route? Firstly, the buses which were started by former City Nazims should be revived and secondly, the Prime Minister should make separate independent boards to run these buses. If these buses are given to the Sindh government’s transport department to operate, they will follow the fate of those projects initiated in the past - discarded once the tenure is over. No system could survive without good governance and rule of law, and both are lacking in the city. In the past, almost 10 transport systems including the Karachi Transport Corporation, the Karachi Circular Railway, the Green Bus project, and the Karachi Road Transport Corporation have failed because of these very reasons.

Karachi’s Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will undoubtedly help reduce people’s travel woes, but it comes at the cost of environmental loss. The country’s financial hub already lacks greenery. Last year’s deadly heat wave directly added to environmental degradation. There is no denying the fact that development is necessary, but it should not come at the cost of the environment. We need to plant more trees. Our city planners should keep environmental concerns in mind while undertaking such developments.

According to some reports, thousands of trees will be chopped down to make way for the long route of the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Karachi. The project managers plan to replant trees during the course of the construction. Unfortunately, past tenures suggest that replantation is just an unfulfilled promise. Former City Nazims promised to repeat thousands of trees but only a few hundred were planted.

GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN,

Karachi, September 9.