BRT Project Cost Too High For Weak Economy Like KP, Says PHC
Peshawar High Court (PHC) has said that the cost of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit was too high for a weak economy like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and has asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the delay and escalation in cost of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in 45 days.
The PHC, in its verdict, asked FIA to conduct an inquiry into the issue within 45 days and submit a report answering why the project was approved without project cycle 1 (PC-1).
The court commented that the previous government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had initiated the BRT project without proper vision and planning.
Moreover, the court observed that initially, a deadline of six months was given for the completion of the project. It added that the project suffered a lot in terms of cost escalation and delays, which needed to be investigated.
In its ruling, the court also noted that high (pay) packages were proposed for the staff of BRT in PC-1, and consultants were hired on attractive salaries, which was a waste of money.
The verdict stated that the per-kilometer expenditure of the BRT project amounted to Rs2.427 billion, which was too high for a weak economy like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The ruling further pointed out that 155 of the 219 buses to be allocated for Peshawar BRT would driven by private drivers and asked why buses running on public money would be given to private transporters.
The court that contract for the Intelligent Transport System installation was awarded through nepotism to a favourite person of the government.
The court also stated that the loan taken for the project was huge, and could have been used on other public welfare schemes, adding that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf initiated the project for face-saving.
The verdict further highlighted that the BRT Cell was set up in the Transport Department, while the project was given to Peshawar Development Authority (PDA).
The court asked, “What was the relation between former CM Pervaiz Khattak, former transport minister, two former DGs of PDA and commissioner Peshawar.”
It further put forth the question why a company blacklisted in Punjab was given the BRT contract.