Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Peshawar BRT on August 13, Thursday.
#PeshawarBRT will cover more than half of #Peshawar through main corridor and feeder routes; passengers from outskirts of the city will also be able to avail services of Peshawar BRT, which is heading towards it’s opening in just a few weeks time; get your FREE Zu Card now! pic.twitter.com/ueS9TnbQy0
— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 7, 2020
BRT inauguration ceremony
Chief Minister KP, federal and provincial ministers will also accompany the PM in the inauguration ceremony. PM will be given detailed briefing on the project – he will also travel in a BRT bus on the occasion.
Distribution of travelling cards has been started among the citizens to travel by BRT buses. The KP government has decided to distribute 1 lac travelling cards.
Earlier inauguration: Delays and cost increases
The PM was earlier to inaugurate Peshawar Bus Rapid Project in June 2020, but it was delayed due to the corona virus. The date for inaugurating this project has been changed around nine times. PTI government has given date for inaugurating this project on several occasions but it has failed to open it.
Government had claimed to complete this project at the cost of Rs 49 billion within six months but it has now incurred Rs 80 billion and more than two and a half year have been elapsed since its commencement.
Why BRT Peshawar was delayed and cost increased
As per media reports, Peshawar BRT project has been inordinately delayed. The project was launched by PTI government during its previous term in the province.
The much-delayed bus project has seen several changes 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 Rs 80 billion from the initial Rs 49 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 jumped up to over Rs 70.7 billion.
In Nov 2018, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council had project’s revised cost of Rs 66.43 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, the KP government informed the apex court earlier in February that the project would be completed by the end of the July.
Peshawar BRT: SC barred FIA from probing project
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) had also ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct investigation of the BRT project but the provincial government challenged the verdict in Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Last month the Supreme Court (SC) ruled for examining the transparency of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT) as well as the process whereby the contract for the construction of this mega project was awarded.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the appeals filed by the government of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa as well as Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), challenging the order, passed by Peshawar High Court (PHC) directing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct an inquiry into different aspects of the BRT Project.
The court maintained its interim order for the third time, halting the investigation being conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the alleged irregularities in the instant project.
Read more: BRT Peshawar: PPP files complaint to NAB
What is the Peshawar BRT Project?
Peshawar’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) will be one of the most expensive BRT ever built – once it is completed. Here’s the cost comparison on a per kilometer basis: Ahmedabad $2.4 million; Dalian (China) $2.6 million; Changzhou (China) $4 million; Guangzhou (China) $4.4 million; Beijing $4.8 million; Bogota $5.3 million; Paris $7 million; and Istanbul $8.8 million
The Peshawar BRT – at $22 million per kilometre – will be the most expensive on the face of the planet. According to the Peshawar High Court (PHC), “The total cost for the 27.37 kms road project is estimated at Rs66.437 billion” (which has now increased to Rs 80 billion.) The PHC adds: “The project has grossly been mishandled and mismanaged from inception by the provincial government officials and thus far three project directors have been replaced.”
Intriguingly, “due to improper planning this short-term project was revised with 35 percent increase in costs and some of its components abnormally increased by 237 percent (package-6), 200 percent (package-9) and 147 percent (package 4). This is testimony of poor planning for the project by the consulting firm with provincial government at the receiving end.”
The PTI government has been criticised as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s budget for health and education stands at Rs11 billion and Rs18 billion, respectively. Yes, the first PC-1 in 2017 for the BRT was at Rs49.453 billion which was revised upwards to Rs66.437 within just one year (the projected cost now stands at around Rs 80 billion).
The PHC had raised several questions about the BRT. Among them: “Why was a consulting firm hired when they were blacklisted for a similar project in Punjab. It is a standard practice that when a firm is blacklisted in one province; all the other provinces are informed along with reasons.”
However, the Peshawar BRT is set to be inaugurated on August 13, Thursday.