Development work started on Red Line of Karachi Bus Rapid Transit Project (KBRT) that would provide safe and swift commuting facilities to over 1.5 million residents of Karachi with environment friendly components like zero emission, conservation of rain water and plantation of trees along the entire corridor. Project Director BRT Red Line, Sajjad Sirhandi, informed APP on Friday that contracts of the projects has been awarded and contractors and clients were mobilised to carry out civil works on the project. Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA) undertaking the project in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The first phase of project relocation of utilities was continue and a committee chaired by commissioner Karachi and having representation of civic services providers was steering the matters relating to shifting of utility installations so that people residing in the area could face minimum difficulty, he said. The Red Line BRT project is part of a greater mobility plan the Karachi Bus Rapid Transit Project (KBRT) a transport system being designed to respond to the increasing need for reliable and safe public transport in the metropolis. In the BRT’s Red line corridor about 250 low emission buses would pick and drop commuters at 24 stations while plying on a 22 kilometre long trunk corridor stretched from surroundings of Jinnah International Airport- Malir Halt, Model Colony, Gulistan Jouhar- to Numaish in downtown of the metropolis. The Red line would prove a viable commuting option for thousands of students as the route run along the entire University road and New M.A. Jinnah road where Karachi University, NED Engineering University, Sir Syed University, Wafaqi Urdu University, Islamia College, Dawood Engineering University and a number of education institutes from primary to university level are situated. Sajad Sirhandi informed that universities were being engaged in environment related components of the project i.e. plantation and relocation of trees and harvesting of rain water to recharge underground water aquifer. The project also included 21 new structures, 3.9 m elevated and 1.9 km underground structures along with storm water drain, side walk and a Bi-cycle track, he said adding that storm water drains were designed in a way that would help preserving rain water in bio wells and using the same for recharging subsoil water aquifer. The initial cost of civil works is estimated at Rs.31 billion along with cost sharing of US$ 493.51 million by donor agencies consisting of contribution of $225.30 million by Asian Development Bank (ADB), $ 71.81 million from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and French Development Agency (AFD) each for civil works and equipment. Green Climate Fund (GCF) would be contributing for the first time in any infrastructural development project by approving grant and concessional loans amounting to $49 million for biogas plant, vehicles, drainage and non-motorised transport. Another environment friendly approach adopted in the project is plantation and conservation of trees along the route of Red Line corridor, Sirhandi informed and added that dozen of trees had to be cut due to development work and the authority has planned to relocate trees where ever possible while hundreds of trees particularly of indigenous species including the fruit bearing varieties will be planted along the route. The population that has to be displaced or their business to affect was also being provided with the compensation amount to facilitate their relocation, he added. Manager Corporate communications TransKarachi Mehvish Zehra sharing operational details of the project claimed that dedicated compartments in the busses are a practical solution to problems being faced by female, differently abled and transgender commuters in present public transport system of the Metropolis. An appropriate quota of conductors and ticket checkers is reserved for female as per gender equality guidelines by ADB, she said.