Previously the completion was due in April 2020 as claimed by the information minister Shaukat Yousafzai. New date for completion i.e. June 2020 has been told to reporters by the special assistant to the chief minister for local government Kamran Khan Bangash. Mr Bangash told reporters on Wednesday that he has always declared the completion date to be the end of fiscal year i.e. June 2020.
Mr. Bangash is currently the political boss of PDA (Peshawar Development Authority) which is the agency executing the BRT project. Bangash claimed that he advised the Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to announce the date. Previously the CM was on the opinion that the launch date should be announced one week before the final execution.
“Civil work is almost complete and the ball is in TransPeshawar court”, says Bangash
While talking to the media Bangash claimed the completion and delivery of major work on the corridor and that now the work is in hands of TransPeshawar to install the intelligent transport system (ITS) while the civil work has almost been completed. TransPeshawar is a government owned company which has been given the task of operating the Peshawar BRT service after completion. He said that currently mock exercises are in process and assured , “By all means, we will complete the project by the end of the current year”.
When contacted; the officials of TransPeshawar claimed that only control center of the project which is located at Chamkani bus depot has been handed over to them. He added, “None of the bus stations or BRT corridor has been handed over to us”. Sources told the reporters that it takes at least 60 days to install ITS after the completion of civil works. Sources told Dawn that the installation of ITS required at least 60 days after the completion of civil work. On the other hand, a settlement agreement was signed between the provincial government and the project contractors a few months ago. The agreement has a biding condition that the contractors will complete the civil work within one hundred and 20 days.
“We have not been given the charge of any station or corridor to proceed”, TrasnsPeshawar negates Bangash’s claim
Delay in completion of project accompanied by various completion date announcements and deadlines have been a source of embarrassment for the PTI government. The project was launched in October 2017 and initially the completion was due in April 2018. The first deadline could not be achieved. The date was then changed to May 20, then June 30 and then December 31 in 2018 and then it jumped to March 23, 2019. The cost incurred is higher than the estimate on the other hand i.e. Rs. 66.43 billion from the initial estimate of Rs. 49 billion. Rs. 66.43 billion was the revised cost estimated by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in November 2018. A revision was requested by the provincial government since the project was planned to be completed in March 2019. In February the apex court was informed by the KP government about completion of project at the end of July. The change in cost estimates is claimed to be because of design changes and frequent retrofitting.
During last month, project PC – A was revised again to account for a cost overrun of Rs. 4.2 billion which has caused the project cost to increase to Rs. 70.7 billion. On the other side an order for NAB probe by the Peshawar High Court was stopped by the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. The order was in view of the alleged corruption in BRT project. Later FIA was also stopped from investigating the project. FIA team that was formed in line with the judgement by High Court had submitted its report to the court in the end of last month.