SHC moved against tree cutting for Red Line BRT corridor

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A petition was filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday against the cutting down of hundreds of fully grown trees in Karachi by authorities to make way for Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

The petition was filed by advocates Shahnawaz and Mohin Abbas in SHC. Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab, the Sindh government and others have been made respondents in the plea. The petition stated that hundreds of old trees were cut down in the jurisdiction of Cantonment Board Malir (CBM) to make way for the Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project and overall 50,000 trees would be cut on the route of BRT project.

“The Sindh government recently started construction work on Karachi’s Red Line BRT project and in the first phase, the route from Tank Chowk near Malir Halt to Safoora Chowrangi will be completed. The transport authorities recently cut down trees in the jurisdiction of CBM for BRT project and also plan to cut around 50,000 trees for the 26-km project ending at Numaish Chowrangi,” it added.

The applicants have urged the province’s top court to stop the provincial government from cutting more trees as the step will further increase temperature in the city facing climate challenges. Recently, Trans Karachi, a Public Sector Company established and owned by the Government of Sindh to carry out the project implementation of the Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Red Line, has initiated a tree plantation drive across Karachi. The Sindh government recently started construction work on Karachi’s Red Line BRT project, according to Trans Karachi – the operator of Karachi Breeze System. In the first phase, the route from Tank Chowk near Malir Halt to Safoora Chowrangi will be completed.

The Red Line will span 26 km from Safoora to Tower. It is expected to have an average daily ridership of 625,000 passengers. The route of the 26-kilometer BRT Red Line project will connect Model Colony to Johar Complex en route Jinnah Avenue and Malir Cantt while the buses will run through University Road, Hassan Square and Numaish roundabout.

24 stations would be constructed on this line which will run from Malir Halt to Numaish via Model Colony, Safoora Goth, King Cottages, Met Office, NED University, Safari Park, Nipa, Urdu University, Masjid Baitul Mukarram, Civic Centre, Askari Park, Dawood University and Society Office.

A biogas plant will be installed on a 31-acre land in Bhens Colony area of Karachi, which will be used for fulfilling the fuel needs of the bus service. The $504 million Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Red Line project is sponsored by the Government of Sindh, with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and co-financiers, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the French Agency for Development (AFD), and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).