Rawalpindi’s Sixth Road Metro Bus Station was destroyed in May 9 violence and has been out of service ever since, with repair plans stuck in the ‘correspondence’ stage between the Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMTA) and the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA).
According to a high-ranking official of the district administration, a shortage of cash is a major factor in the postponement of repair work. The officer, speaking anonymously, blamed a lack of funding for the delay. The caretaker administration in Punjab is unwilling to pay the estimated Rs120 million to Rs140 million for repairs.
During the riots that followed the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf head Imran Khan, the station was damaged. The whole structure of the tube station was badly damaged, and parts were set on fire, by the demonstrators. Damaged and still inoperable include the station’s escalators, elevators, ticket booths, air conditioning equipment, and automatic doors.
Passengers travelling between the two cities on a metro bus must travel to either the Rahmanabad or Chandni Chowk stations, as the vehicle does not stop at the Sixth Road stop.
Shamim Bibi used the Sixth Road Metro Bus Station on her way to work as a teacher in Islamabad. She said that the metro bus had stopped stopping at the Sixth Road station for the past three months, forcing her to go to the next station, and she pleaded with the caretaker governments in both the federal and provincial levels to address the situation.
The RDA and PMTA are still unable to come to an agreement on how to proceed with repairs and upkeep. The PMTA has submitted multiple letters to the RDA arguing that the RDA should contribute to the metro station’s upkeep.
The RDA argues that the PMTA should be responsible for the upkeep and repairs of the metro bus facilities since it was given to them. When asked why they were holding up repairs, the PMTA did not provide a satisfactory explanation.
The district official claimed that RDA engineers had inspected the station, but that they needed to speak with Nespak before beginning metro station construction. The official indicated that the necessary institutions would need to collaborate, but that Nespak engineers could check the status of the metro tracks, pillars, and other concrete structures following the fire.
Rawalpindi’s commissioner, Liaquat Ali Chatta, recently paid a visit to the damaged station and given directives for its prompt restoration. Ex-lawmaker Hanif Abbasi was there with him. Despite the commissioner’s directives, it appears nothing has been done.