Peshawar BRT buses to hit the road by June 30

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PESHAWAR: Transport minister Malik Shah Mohammad Khan on Tuesday claimed that the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit service would be launched before the end of the coming June.

He, however, didn’t set a deadline for it.

The government had stopped issuing the bus project completion deadlines after failing to launch the service on March 23, 2019.

Accompanied by the provincial government’s spokesperson, Ajmal Wazir, Mr. Shah told a presser here that though the deadline for the BRT project completion was extended to June 2021, the bus service’s launch would be ensured in the current fiscal.

He said the BRT initiative would address the growing traffic problems of the provincial capital. “We want to resolve Peshawar’s traffic problems on a permanent basis,” he said.

Mr. Shah, who held the transport portfolio in the last Pervez Khattak cabinet, said the first six-month deadline for the bus service was set at the desire of the then chief minister, Pervez Khattak, but that caused ‘quality problems’.

“When efforts were made to meet the six months deadline, the quality of work got affected and therefore, it (deadline) was abandoned,” he said. The minister said work on the bus project was being carried on a war footing for early completion as directed by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

He said mega projects often faced design issues but all such issues in the BRT had been resolved. Mr. Shah said a good transport system was the bedrock of all developed cities, so the government was paying full attention to the mega project.

Regarding the ongoing work on three bus depots in different parts of the city, the minister said the ongoing work on those depots was unlikely to affect the project launch. He said work on bus depots was launched several months after the work began on the main corridor.

Mr. Shah said he and the chief minister were monitoring work on the BRT project, while the contractor was bound by the agreement to meet deadlines to prevent fines.

He said the government would invite Prime Minister Imran Khan to inaugurate the project. Mr. Wazir criticized the opposition parties for politicizing the bus project.

He said after the project’s completion, accountability bodies were free to investigate all allegations involving the project. Regarding the murder of a minor girl in Nowshera, Mr. Wazir said the government had decided to enact a law against child abusers within a month.

He said after meeting the girl’s family, the chief minister directed the relevant officials to bring a law to overcome the issue.

APP adds: The transport minister said under the agreement signed by the government with the Asian Development Bank, the bus project was to be completed in 2021 but the current government was going to launch the service almost six months in advance.

“Had the project been completed in haste, it would have not met international standards,” he said. The minister urged media to extend support to the government for the early completion of the ‘mega project of public interest’.

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