More than a year has passed since the initial launch date of the much-awaited Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that was to be completed within “six months”; however, the controversy surrounding the project continues to deepen.
Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister Pervez Khattak had in October 2017 broke ground on the multi-billion-rupee project aimed at providing comfortable transport facilities to the residents of Peshawar.
Launched with the Asian Development Bank’s assistance, Khattak had announced the 26 km long project would be completed by April 2018, but it was later delayed to May.
However, the Peshawar BRT has lied in limbo ever since its inauguration, as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, while auditing the affairs of Rs29.65 billion Lahore and the Rs28.5 billion Multan metro buses, has failed to finalise the total cost of its own project.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the BRT has revealed that “havoc has been played with public money through faulty planning and designing, negligence in execution of work and poor management of the project”.
According to reports, the government has lastly approved an increase in the project’s cost by 38 per cent, revising from Rs49 billion to Rs66 billion.
The new cost, which still might not be the final one, is 53.46 per cent higher than the total cost of Punjab’s most expensive mass transit project – the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus – that was completed at a cost of Rs44.31 billion.