Home Global Village Orange Train: When a government’s priorities doesn’t match people’s needs!

Orange Train: When a government’s priorities doesn’t match people’s needs!

Orange Train
  • 33
    Shares

Farrukh Saleem |

The government of Punjab is spending Rs 162 billion for the transportation of 250,000 residents of Lahore.

Question: How much is Rs 162 billion?

Answer: Rs 162 billion for 250,000 passengers amounts to Rs 650,000 per passenger. For the record, Mehran VX sells for Rs 630,000 and, in effect, the government of Punjab could have bought a Mehran VX for each and every passenger.

Question: How much is Rs 162 billion?

Answer: Punjab’s population stands at 101 million and the government of Punjab spends a total of Rs 59 billion on education and Rs 54 billion on health services. Every resident of Punjab will now be taking on an additional Chinese debt of Rs 1,600. For the record, the government of Punjab spends Rs 600 on a per capita basis on education and Rs 500 on a per capita basis on health.

Question: How much is Rs162 billion? Every three out of four residents of Punjab do not have access to clean drinking water. Amazingly, Budget 2015-16 allocated a mere Rs 12 billion for the water supply of 101 million residents of Punjab.

Question: How about the Orange Line’s financial viability? Answer: The estimated breakeven is Rs 175 per ticket. At Rs 20 a ticket, the Orange Line will lose Rs 40 million a day or Rs 14 billion a year (operation and maintenance is estimated at around Rs 4 billion a year).

Question: What about the debt payment to the Chinese?

Answer: The debt payment of interest and principal is estimated at around Rs 30 million a day or Rs 10 billion a year (assuming that the Chinese loan is concessional in nature).

Question: How much is Rs 162 billion?

Answer: On a per kilometre basis it converts to Rs6 billion a kilometre – the most expensive of its kind on the face of the planet (the cost of the Lahore Metro Bus was Rs 1 billion a kilometre).

Question: How much is Rs 162 billion? Answer: The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre – comprising outpatient clinics, chemotherapy facility and an inpatient unit – is going to cost Rs 4 billion. With Rs 162 billion, the government of Punjab could have built 41 such hospitals (Punjab has 36 districts).

Read more: Orange Line causes Mall Road closure

For the record, 47 percent of school-age children in Punjab are out-of-school. According to The Citizens Foundation, the cost of building a primary school is Rs 17 million. With Rs 162 billion, the government of Punjab can build 10,000 good quality primary schools; nearly 300 new schools in each and every one of Punjab’s 36 districts.

For the record, there are 2.9 million school-age children in Punjab who are out-of-school. According to The Citizens Foundation, the yearly cost of educating a child is Rs 15,000. The yearly cost of educating all of the 2.9 million will be Rs44 billion.

Someone intelligent once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

The author has Ph.D. (Financial Economics) from Western Illinois University. The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.