How Peshawar BRT Turned Into An Embarrassment For PTI
The Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project has over the years been under much discussion, not just because it was the first major inner-city infrastructure project of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, but because it has, over the years faced delays, irregularities and has resulted in allegations of corruption for those involved in the project.
Initiation of the project
The feasibility study for the Peshawar BRT was first completed in 2014. Amongst other things, it envisaged an east-west corridor, about thirty kilometres long, with 31 stations. Though the study was completed in 2014, work began three years later in 2017, an year before the elections, leading many to allege that it was a face-saving project for the PTI.
According to a report in Express Tribune, the project’s initial cost was Rs 41 billion, which reached around Rs56 billion in 2018.
Kickbacks and poor execution
In April 2019, the KP inspection team submitted a report which revealed that those involved in the project had received kickbacks worth Rs 7 billion. Moreover, the report detailed that the project was launched without any planning and without giving regard to the effect it would have on traffic, sewerage, water supply etc.
The report had also revealed that the cost of the project now was Rs 68 billion and was expected to rise further.
Probe into the project
A probe into the Peshawar BRT project was initiated in early December on the directives of the Peshawar High Court, and the Federal Investigation Agency was ordered to submit the inquiry report in 45 days. Along with checking the infrastructure, the investigation is also meant to gauge if any kickbacks were received or corruption was carried out during the BRT project.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has now blamed the previous federal government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for the delays in the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, as the latter had failed to allot land for the metro in a timely manner.