The report of Provincial Inspection Team has pointed out major faults in the design of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project, the brain child of former PTI Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak. Highlighting the technical loopholes in the design and their possibility of endangering human lives, the report recommends the closure of under passes. The Prime Minister has been informed about the findings of Inspection Team Report. The footages that were shown and tickers ran on Private TV Channel during its 1500 hours news bulletin yesterday revealed that the bus-track has been found narrow and to widen it the side walls are being demolished. A photograph published on the back page of leading Urdu daily has shown the demolished palisades along the bus track in University town.
The repeated changes in the design of BRT project in the previous PTI government and lack of transparency in bidding process for the award of contract to accommodate the contractors of the choice of former chief executive of the province resulted in huge cost escalation of the project. After utilizing the Rs. 50 billion loan of the Asian Development Bank, a loan of 130 million Euro was got sanctioned from France as the cost of the project may go up to Rs.75 billion. The total outlay of BRT project will be then double of the total cost of Rawalpindi Islamabad Metro Bus project which was designed by National Engineering Services of Pakistan (NESPAK). The bidding of this highly reputed semi-government consultancy firm was rejected by the previous government while awarding the contract of consultancy services for project design. It is pertinent to mention that it had also collaborated with the international engineering consultancy firms during the construction of Tarbella dam.
The governments departments which are executing this project have asked for the release additional funds worth Rs. 11billion for its completion in a briefing that was given to the Chief Minister Mahmood Khan the other day. The Chief Minister did not agree to the proposal. Peshawar Development Authority is the major executing line department from which NAB had acquired BRT record under the directives of Peshawar High Court in July last year. But perhaps the probe in the matter is going on with a snail pace. Interestingly, at that time a PDA official contended that the contract of the project had been given to the contractors shortlisted by the Asian Development Bank after the fulfillment of all legal and codal formalities. It may be recalled that Assistant Resident Engineer of BRT Gohar Muhgammad Khan had resigned on June 1last year and in his resignation letter he cited the issues of bad quality of construction work by the contract actors as well as huge corruption. He said that the contractors had been paid huge amounts just for nothing. He also rang alarm bells about the likely collapse of some BRT pillars in his letter addressed to the then Chief Secretary.
The Planning Ministry in the CDWP meeting held on July 16 last year had deferred the KPK government request for granting approval for additional amount of 18 billion due to increase in the cost of BRT project. In its technical appraisal the ministry wrote that paper working on the project design was not carried out based on ground conditions and investigation at the preliminary design stage. In a more glaring comment, the ministry wrote that the revised PC-1 stated that International Competitive Bidding had been carried out for the selection of contractors. However, on the contrary local firms were selected for the execution of the work on the project. Consequently, former caretaker finance minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar constituted a committee to review the revised PC-1 of BRT. Hopefully, NAB will complete its probe about the delay, faulty construction and other related matters to this project.