Ather Ali Khan
THE transport and communication sector provides vital infrastructure for the socio-economic development of any economy. However, Pakistan’s physical communication infrastructure was antiquated and also in disarray; buses were inadequate and expensive; roads were poorly maintained; hence the need for improvement and communications facilities was urgent. In order to bring ease to the people through expansion of mass transit facilities, Punjab government had prepared a comprehensive restructuring plan to upgrade the physical communications infrastructure. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has to his credit Metros in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan that facilitate millions of people daily. Speedo buses in these cities are also providing inexpensive transport facilities. On Monday, CM Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the largest Beijing Underpass of Pakistan at Canal Road Lahore.
The 1.3 km long underpass with 5.1 meters height has been completed in a short rather record time of 125 days, which will accommodate any kind of traffic. It is estimated that 2.5 lac vehicles will pass through it daily. Furthermore, this project has provided signal free Canal road from Thokar Naiz Baig to HerbansPura. On February 10, 2013, Lahore Metrobus System was started; in Rawalpindi on June 4, 2015 Pakistan Metrobus System started operations between Rawalpindi and Islamabad; and Multan Metrobus System operations started on January 24, 2017.
It has to be mentioned that Dual Carriageway from muzaffargarh to DG Khan is another mile stone for the people of that area. It was a long awaited demand of people, and CM made it happen. Billion of rupees are being spent and it will be completed in a year. While talking to media reporters after inauguration ceremony, CM congratulated the people of Lahore for timely completion of this unique project at the cost of Rs. 3.5 billion is a masterpiece of architecture which will improve the flow of traffic. He said that passages for railways have also been built on this underpass, which will facilitate transportation. He added that its adjacent road touches Ring road, which will be a relief to the citizens as it will help them save their precious time. He said that this wonderful project of Beijing Underpass will bring the best to the people of Lahore as it will save their time and they will reach their destination in time. This project is the marvelous work of art, quality and architecture, he added.
The unveiling ceremony of the first set of bogies of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train was held at Dera Gujran in Lahore on 8th October 2017; Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin had attended the ceremony. Under the project, 27 trains will be imported in which 23 of them will arrive by the end of this year. Over 0.2 million people will be able to travel comfortably daily once the project is completed, and the train would complete 2.5 hours of journey in just 45 minutes. Construction works on the project began in October 2015. Shahbaz Sharif has earned laurels and is being acknowledged as the most dynamic leader Punjab ever produced.
According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) in February 2017, parameters garnering a score of 60 percent and above are indicative of a significant improvement in governance from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016: Punjab demonstrated significant improvement in 22 parameters, followed by KP with significant improvement in 13 parameters, Sindh in 11 parameters and Balochistan in 10 parameters. Punjab had the highest scores of all the Provinces in 11 out of 25 parameters, while Balochistan had the highest scores of all the Provinces in seven parameters, KP in 6 parameters and Sindh in only one parameter. Punjab leads the way in the use of technology for better governance with a score of 74.1 percent – way ahead of the other three provinces.
In 2014, a survey was conducted by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) to gauge one-year performance of the federal and provincial governments according to which Punjab was ahead of Khyber Paktunkhwa (KP), which had emerged second among the four provinces. According to survey report, nationwide public perception of the performance of four chief ministers showed that the chief minister of Punjab received the highest rating. In public opinion, the second ranking on the ladder was for chief minister of KP. Third place on the ladder was reserved in public opinion for chief minister of Balochistan who received NPR of -19 per cent, as only 33 per cent respondents rated his performance as good.
The Sindh chief minister occupied the opposite end of the performance meter, with NPR of -29 per cent. During the last three years after the above survey, Punjab has not only kept the lead but showed progress it has made in all sectors including education, health and other sectors. Of course, the major part of revenue to the provinces comes from the federal divisible pool, Punjab has utilized the funds for the welfare of the people in a transparent manner. It has to be mentioned that PILDAT’s surveys are reliable and of international standards. Of course, it is due to the fact that Punjab CM is a dynamic political leader known for his strong and efficient administration.