KARACHI - Sindh Government on Friday informed the Provincial Assembly that fate of the environment friendly Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses project was connected with Pak-Iran gas pipeline agreement which would hopefully be signed very soon. The Sindh Minister for Transport Department Akhtar Hussain Jadoon during question-hour session of Sindh Assembly said that federal government under its Public Sector Development Programme has allocated Rs5 billion to induct environment friendly 8,000 CNG buses under five-year, phase-wise programme. This programme will include mega cities of Pakistan such as Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Quetta, Hyderabad, Peshwar, Gujranwala, and Sukkur. He said that the provision would be met available for the interest part of the buses to be inducted on leasing from financial institution subject to the approval of PC-1. Though, the above project was supposed to be initiated in last fiscal year, but due to shortage of gas in the country, it has been delayed, Minister said, hoping that CNG buses are expected to run on the roads in next year 2010. To queries asked by MPAs, Provincial Minister said that out of 8000 CNG buses, at least 4,000 CNG buses to be allocated for Sindh province. At least 1,000 CNG buses would be available by next year to run on the roads of the province, he said and added that out of them, 700 buses would be for Karachi, while 300 buses to run in other district of the province. The CNG buses project is public-private partnership, under which government will invite the investors to acquire buses on subsidy, he said, adding that original price of Rs4.2 million would be required for each CNG bus. The government will bear only Rs0.7 million subsidy on each bus, while the remaining amount will be paid by investors in five years in instalments. Minister said that his department recommended for increasing the subsidy to one million rupees, but it has been rejected by federal government. He pointed out that total 4000 CNG buses would be available for Sindh in five years, out of them, 2500 buses to run on the roads of Karachi and 1500 buses for remaining districts of the province. Replying the queries of lawmakers, Transport Minister said that he has already sent proposal to federal government to allocate at least 25 CNG buses each for Thatta, Badin, Sanghar, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Dadu and other districts of the province. Minister for Transport Department further said that the fitness of the buses is not up to the prescribed standard, but shortage of public transport compelled the department to allow these vehicles on roads. He said that scraping of SRTC by previous government was unwise. He said at least Rs1.2 billion loans of World Bank are still pending to the Transport department. There is no any arrears of employees of SRTC are pending to the Transport department as all the 1840 employees had acquired golden handshake, he said and added that his department will move a summary to the Chief Minister for inducting as employees are holding protest demos in the province.