KARACHI (PPI) - In order to stamp out transportation woes in the metropolis, the government had planned to ply 4000 eco-friendly CNG buses on the roads under Shaheed Benazir Bhutto CNG Bus Project but disappointingly the project not only went to the wall, the cash-strapped facilitator of the project - the City District Government Karachi - is even struggling to keep its own fleet of CNG buses in order. Under the project, a total of 8,000 buses were expected to ply on the roads countrywide with 4,000 of them in Karachi alone in the next five years. It was also promised that in the first phase 500 CNG buses would be introduced in the provincial capital by the end of 2011, but the provincial and the CDGK failed to materialize the promise. The CDGK currently has a total of 75 CNG buses, with only 23 of them plying on roads following the intervention of the Sindh Governor after brief suspension of CNG bus operations due to contractors-CDGK row over unpaid government dues. Of its total 75 CNG buses, the CDGK had purchased a single CNG bus at a cost of Rs4.4 million and gradually increased the number to 75 but most of them are parked at Surjani Bus Terminal, that had been built at a cost of Rs20 million. It is learnt that even many buses are without their spare parts. An official concerned categorically said a time-frame for commencing the project could not be given as dire financial problems has badly hampered its progress. He told that the loan for CNG Bus Project had been withheld by the National Bank of Pakistan over reasons best known to it. He said the government had already provided subsidy of Rs0.7 million on procurement of per CNG bus in its fleet of total 4,000 buses. The Federal and provincial governments have approved the project, but the problem exists with NBP, who had to provide 80 per cent of the total loan for the project, but its now not abiding by its earlier commitment, Chief Karachi Mass Transit Cell Rasheed Mughal told when contacted. Talking to this agency, he said that meetings with different private contractors to begin the project were also underway. Its a project that requires huge investment. He said that a private contractor had demanded NBP to issue collateral for the initiating the project but the latter refused to comply. We now are looking for other alternatives, along with establishing contacts with foreign companies and bus manufacturers to ply CNG buses on the roads of Karachi with special subsidy on each bus provided by the government. But still final response of the party concerned is yet to be received, Rasheed Mughal said. He stressed that the CDGKs role in the project should not be misconstrued as it was only a facilitator, while the financers, i-e Government agency and a private contractor were two major stakeholders. Mughal underscored that KMTC was simultaneously looking after other mega projects including Karachi Circular Railway, Mass Transit System, infrastructure development for circular railway and Rapid Bus Transit System. Having all such major responsibilities in hand, KMTC is equally endeavouring to bring life to the CNG bus project, he concluded. According to a preliminary study conducted by Mass Transit Cell Department for CNG-bus project, it estimates that around 12,399 buses (mostly old buses) of different sizes and shapes ply in Karachi on around 267 routes which overlap considerably with each other. The study highlighted the problems of the current public transport system and proposed a two-tier strategy to address the problem; the introduction of CNG buses and the development of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Karachi.