Special assistant to the chief minister for local government Kamran Khan Bangash said on Wednesday the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), Peshawar project would finish by the end of the current fiscal in June.
Kamran Bangash, who also oversees the BRT Project closely and projects under Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), said he has always been saying that the project would be completed by the end of June 2020.
Furthermore, he claimed that most of the work on the project had been completed and that it had been handed over to the TransPeshawar for the installation of intelligent transport system (ITS).
TransPeshawar-a government-owned company- is responsible for operating the Peshawar BRT service after the project’s completion.
He said the ITS installation along almost major portion of the BRT corridor and bus stations was in process, while civil work on the project was almost over. The chief minister’s special assistant said currently, mock exercises were being carried out.
Read more: BRT Peshawar: PPP files complaint to NAB
According to sources, the installation of ITS requires at least 60 days after the completion of civil work. A few months ago, the provincial government and the project contractors had signed a settlement agreement binding the contractors to complete civil work in 120 days.
Why BRT Peshawar delayed and that its cost increased
The much-delayed bus project has seen several change of the project deadline, causing political embarrassment and public pressure to the ruling PTI.
The bus project, launched in Oct 2017, was initially to be completed in April 2018. However, the first deadline was missed.
After that the project managers kept changing the launch dates from May 20 to June 30 to Dec 31 in 2018 and March 23, 2019, while the project cost jumped to Rs66.43 billion from the initial Rs49 billion due to the frequent retrofitting and design changes.
Earlier last month, the project managers again decided to revise the project PC-1 to account for Rs4.2 billion cost overrun after which the project cost would jump up to over Rs 70.7 billion.
In Nov 2018, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council had project’s revised cost of Rs66.43 billion stipulating the June 2019 to be project completion month, while the provincial government had requested the forum to allow the revision of cost for the soft opening of the project then scheduled for March last year.
However, KP government informed the apex court earlier in February that the project would be completed by the end of the July.
A National Accountability Bureau probe ordered by the Peshawar High Court into the alleged corruption in BRT project was stopped in Sept 2018 by a Supreme Court bench headed by the then chief justice, justice Saqib Nisar.
Previously, chief minister Shoukat Yousafzai told media that the project of BRT will be launched in April, 2020.
However, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sources, which funds the BRT Project said that the project was running fine but the timeline given by the then chief minister KP Pervez khattak was unrealistic.