News DesK |
Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, minister for Information Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) while discussing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project Peshawar maintained that the cost of the project is no more than Rs29 billion. “Asian Development Bank gave Rs31 billion and KP government only spent Rs29 billion on the project; remaining cost is of three commercial plazas, [Rs10.5 billion], attached roads [Rs11 billion], and busses [Rs8 billion],” said the information minister. He made these statements while talking to the prominent anchorperson Dr. Moeed Pirzada in his prime time show “live with Moeed Pirzada” at GNN.
The anchorperson highlighted the criticism, which has come from different circles and especially from the KP provincial inspection team. According to a 27-page report of KP provincial inspection team, many questions related to the feasibility of BRT in Peshawar were raised.
When asked about the need of BRT, the minister commented that Peshawar city had one main road, which connected one end of the city to the other end. The research report of the Asian Development Bank suggested a BRT to avoid huge traffic load on the only main road.
After allotment of Malam Jabba’s land for 33 years lease, NAB on behalf of Forestry Department KP put reservations that the said land belonged to Forestry Department KP.
The anchorperson asked a question related to the usage of substandard material in the construction of BRT, to which Yousafzai, replied that KP government is ready to face criticism on the issue and to investigate the matter if opposition parties show proof of such thing.
Commenting on the National Accountability Bureau’s Malam Jabba case, Shaukat Yousafzai, said, “Malam Jabba’s case is of unique nature. At the initial phase, the lease of 270 acres for 33 years was given at Rs12 million per year.”
NAB had stayed Malam Jabba’s lease because it was awarded for 33 years instead of 15 years as per law. In defense, Yousafzai, said, “Since Malakand district has suffered a lot during insurgency combat operations, therefore, no one was agreed to invest there. To attract investors for huge investment, this surplus of extra 18 years was put before them.”
He further added the disputing parties in Malam Jabba’s case are Forestry and Tourism Departments; it is a conflict of these two departments. After allotment of Malam Jabba’s land for 33 years lease, NAB on behalf of Forestry Department KP put reservations that the said land belonged to Forestry Department KP.
Read more: NAB chairman orders inquiry into BRT project
In order to re-conciliate between NAB (Forestry Department KP) and Tourism Department KP, we requested NAB to award at least 12.5 acres of that land of Malam Jabba, where tourism and activities are operating already to Tourism Department. We (KP government) request NAB to review this decision because the KP government is suffering Rs12 million deficit each year.