There is a widespread criticism of metro projects started by the current Punjab government in Lahore and other cities of the province. But the question is whether this criticism has some logical points or it’s just political bashing by the opposition parties to confuse the people.

If you drive in Lahore in the normal working days during the morning or evening rush hours, huge traffic jams are witnessed, while accidents are becoming normal feature.

The use of motorcycles by the middle class is a necessity due to increased petrol prices.

The estimated population of Lahore is more than 10 million and it also has traffic load due to people from adjacent cities like Sheikhpura and Kasur commuting to the city daily for their jobs.

The total project cost of orange line project is estimated to be around $1.6 billion raised through loan from China.

The increase in population and urbanization is causing huge traffic problems all over the world. Along with traffic jams, shortage of parking is also one of the biggest problems in cities around the world.

All major cities in the world have mass transport systems and use of own transportation is considered to be a luxury.

The governments have imposed taxes on the purchase and sale of vehicles to discourage their use.

The parking fees are very high in major cities like London, New York or Dubai. The governments around the world are urging people to use mass transportation systems in order to avoid traffic problems.

Not only the traffic problems, but the smoke coming out of motor vehicles is a danger to our environment. The mass transport systems around the world have reduced the use of fuel. This has not only benefitted the economy but has also reduced environmental problems in the long term.

All over the world, where there is a mass transport system, it is less costly, as well as consumes less fuel; hence providing additional benefits to the passengers and the government.

The metro was built first in London over 150 years ago, and is still regarded as one of the biggest achievements. Fuel is cheapest in Gulf states, which produce oil and people easily can afford big cars there.

But the traffic jams and parking issues led to the successful introduction of first metro in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Now following up, Riyadh city metro project, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is underway. Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, all over the gulf, the metro projects are being planned.

A metro project also employs a lot of people, starting with massive labour required for digging and spreading the network. This is of great help for poor labourers, engineers and construction firms constantly looking for work

During and after the completion of the project, another set of skilled labour is required for the technical support, day to day operations and financial management. A metro project also gives a boost to the local industries and is good for the overall economy.

Keeping in view all the above-mentioned factors, metro projects are more than a necessity for the common people in all major cities of Pakistan.

Written below is the crux of criticism hurled at metro projects by the political opponents.

The major criticism is about the allocation of funds. It is argued that money should be spent on hospitals and schools rather than on road infrastructure projects in a developing country like Pakistan.

The importance of basic health and education facilities cannot be questioned at all.

However, metro system is a basic necessity for both education and hospitals. Whether you need to go to a school or hospital, you need transportation which is easy accessible, takes you to the destination on time, and is also economical.

The need is that we should criticise in a way that the government should focus more spend more on education and health sectors to improve the facilities.

Naveed Ahmed(The

author is Certified

Management Accountant USA, Associate Member of Certified Public Accountant Australia and currently working as Finance

Manager in Airline in Gulf)