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The Multan Metrobus (Urdu: مُلتان میٹرو بس‎), is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan.[1] Construction on the line began in May 2015, while operations commenced on 24 January 2017.[2]

Design

The Multan Metro route is 18.5 kilometres (11.5 mi) long, with 12.5 kilometres (7.8 mi) elevated section. It has 21 bus stations, with 14 elevated stations and seven ground level stations. The bus stations have been constructed with Multan’s extreme hot and cold weather in mind.[3] Each bus can carry 190 passengers. A private company will run the bus service for the time being. Nearly 96,000 commuters are expected to use Multan Metrobus service everyday.[4] The official reports reported cost of Rs. 29 billion for 18.5 kilometres (11.5 mi), making it Rs 1.61 billion per Kilometer.

Operational problems of project

Multan metro bus service was started with 47 buses. However, the service was unable to meet its target of 90,000+ passengers. After commence losses, ten buses were sent to the Lahore metro project. Nevertheless, the remaining 37 buses were still unable to attain viable passengers [5]. To prevent the service from collapse, 19 buses were parked and strength was reduced to 18.[6] Further more, 100 more feeder bus services were bought in first phase; feeding passengers to the remaining 18 buses from far flung areas. [7] Latter, 100 more buses was imported to make a total of 200, accommodating all possible routes in Multan. Afterwards, Speedo buses were also reduced from 200 to 115 after few months attributing empty buses and lack of public interest. [8] Despite all measures taken by Punjab government, the project received high annual losses due to subsidised rate provided in the project. Several reasons for failure of project included:

  • Poor route planning and design of project. [9]
  • Difficult ticketing systems i.e. the electronic card used in the project and expensive card load requirements.

Corruption allegations and Probe

A scandal emerged on January 29, 2015, after Chinese firm Yabaite-China associated huge amount of money in their accounts, flowing from Pakistan associated Multan metro project. It was revealed in an allegedly $17.5 million corruption scandal that contract of construction was awarded to Habib Rafiq Private Limited, and some part of project were outsourced to Capital Engineering, a company owned by Faisal Subhan (alleged front man of Shareef family). Capital Engineering did suspicious deals with Jiangsu Yabaite Technology Co. Ltd, which allegedly provided kick back to Chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Shareef. [10] However, Chief minister Shahbaz Shareef out rightly rejected the allegations and termed Faisal Subhan as fictitious character. I have done no corruption, i am ready for any probe, he added.[11] Despite all allegations Zafar Hijazi, Ex-Chairman SECP refused to forward the case to FIA and start inquiry against capital international or Yabaite China. However, after Zafar Hijazi, Ex-chairman SECP got arrested in record tempering case,[12] on August 2017 SECP finally moved the money laundering cases against Chinese firm to FIA.[13] In October, 2017 senate standing committee of finance noted serious reservations on corruption scam in Multan metro. It was noted the Ex-Chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi who tempered record for Shareef family held the Multan metro corruption cases and impeded its referral to FIA raises further suspicions. Multan metro initiated first ever high-profile money laundering case against any Chinese firm.[14] After senate committee took up the case of Multan metro corruption, and SECP referring the associated money laundering case in October, 2017 NAB finally took notice of mega corruption scandal and order probe into misappropriate of funds and use of sub standard materials.[15][16] In February 2018, NAB finally started the proceedings after long controversies and delays.[17] Mr. Nadir Chatta, DC Multan faced interrogation from NAB on violation or procedures while purchase of land.[18]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Work on Multan Metro Bus to Begin on August 14". The Nation. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Prime Minister inaugurates Multan Metrobus". Dawn News. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  3. ^ http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/371872-PM-inaugurates-Multan-Metro-Bus-Service
  4. ^ http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/371872-PM-inaugurates-Multan-Metro-Bus-Service
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=440v2WJu8Vs Metro stations collapsed, feeder buses to revive Multan metro bus: Jaag TV
  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g5VovRtiPc Metro stations desolated , Metro buses reduced to 18 buses: Abb tak
  7. ^ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1446501/multans-feeder-bus-service-operational-july/ Feeder buses to start operations to help Multan Metro project
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlfzfFh6cJY&t=63s failure of Speedo bus service: Lahore news
  9. ^ https://www.newstv.pk/2018/03/27/poorly-designed-route-planning-for-multan-metro-project-failed-to-deliver-27-march-2018/ Poor route plan of Multan metro bus
  10. ^ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1505560/probe-alleged-corruption-multan-metro-deepen/ Yabait-China and Capital Engineering nexus: A $17.5 million scam
  11. ^ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1648805/1-faisal-subhan-fictional-character-claims-shehbaz/ Shabaz Shareef rejected Multan Metro corruption allegations
  12. ^ https://www.dawn.com/news/1366593 Zafar Hijazi arrested for record tempering for Shareef family
  13. ^ https://www.dawn.com/news/1355017 SECP moved Multan metro money laundering case to FIA
  14. ^ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/pak-to-probe-money-laundering-case-against-chinese-firm/articleshow/60307534.cms Multan Metro corruption: Chinese firm comes under probe
  15. ^ https://www.samaa.tv/pakistan/2017/10/nab-chief-orders-inquiries-into-multan-metro-pia-scandals/ NAB ordered inquiry on Multan metro corruption
  16. ^ https://thefrontierpost.com/nab-probe-mega-corruption-cases-including-multan-metro-aircraft-sale/ Zero Tolerance for Corruption: Multan metro corruption under the lamp
  17. ^ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1628957/1-scam-unearthed-nab-likely-summon-cm-multan-metro-inquiry/ Metro Multan Scam: Corruption inquiry by NAB
  18. ^ https://92newshd.tv/metro-bus-corruption-multan-dc-nadir-chattha-appears-nab/#.WqpEhr3wZeU DC Multan interrogation on Multan Metro Corruption: violations in purchase of land