PESHAWAR: A joint venture of two Pakistani and Chinese companies has been selected as the contractor for the Package I of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

Sources told Dawn that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had selected the Maqbool-Calson-China Engineering joint venture had been awarded the contract for the construction of the mega project’s Package I.

Package I of the project has further been divided into two phases i.e. Reach I and Reach III. The Reach I begins in Chamkani towards the city’s eastern fringes and ends at Firdous Chowk near Balahisar Fort.

The Reach III of the project starts at Amn Chowk and ends at Cancer hospital in the Hayatabad in the westernmost part of the city.

Official insists project likely to miss govt’s six-month deadline

The JV has offered the lowest bid of Rs7.6 billion for the construction of Reach I and Rs10.8 billion for Reach III of the project.

The bids were opened on Aug 10 and were forwarded to the ADB for final decision after analysis by the consultant. The ADB is providing a loan of $335 million for the construction of the Peshawar BRT.

On Sept 12, the ADB had signed a loan agreement with the federal and provincial governments in Islamabad.

As the ADB is set to provide $335 million for the project, the European Investment Bank (AIB) and French Development Agency (AFD) are likely to provide $75 million each for the project. The loan agreement will be effective 90 days after its signing.

A source said the contractor’s approval for Package II of the project, which ran from the Malik Saad flyover to Amn Chowk through the busiest and most densely populated parts of the city, was likely to be received within a day or two.

He said the chief minister wanted the project’s groundbreaking to happen only after the approval for Package II.

“Work on the project is likely to start by mid-October if the successful bidder is announced within few days,” he said.

The source however seemed skeptical about the completion of the project within the deadline stipulated by the government.

The chief minister had called on several occasions for the start of work by Sept 1 but that didn’t happen.

Sources said one reason for the delay in the project’s execution was the less-than-anticipated allocations by the government.

They said the government had to provide Rs7.7 billion as its share in the project but the allocations made by the transport department in the budget was too meagre and even less than the cost of Rs1.7 billion to be paid as compensation to the people affected by the initiative.

A source said the government had yet to made budgetary re-appropriation to channel funds for the purpose.

He said under the ADB rules, the government had to first pay compensation to the affected people and then start work on the project.

“The project is likely to miss the government’s deadline,” he said.

Though the KP government has time and again claimed that work on the project will complete in six months, the loan agreement notes that the project is likely to be successfully executed by June 30, 2021.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2017

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