PESHAWAR: Work on the much-publicised Bus Rapid Transit project will be completed by July 10, while the Sunehri Masjid Road will be reopened to traffic within 10 days, the Peshawar High Court bench was told on Thursday.

Peshawar Development Authority Director General Israrul Haq, who is also the BRT project director, informed a bench consisting of Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Syed Afsar Shah that the project had been taking much longer than the specified period to complete due to certain factors.

He said it had rained for 39 days since work on the project began and thus, delaying the work’s completion.

PDA blames project delay on rains, Pesco failure to remove poles

Mr Haq said work didn’t complete at some places due to the delay in removal of electricity poles by the Peshawar Electric Supply Company.

He said the Sunehri Masjid Road, one of the city’s main arteries, which had been closed to vehicular traffic for many days, would be reopened in five to 10 days.

The PDA DG claimed that major work on the project had already been completed, while the civil (construction) work was likely to be completed by July 10.

The government has extended deadline for the project’s completion many times. Earlier, the court was informed that the civil work would be completed by Apr 10.

Pesco chief executive Engineer Zakaullah Khan Gandapur told the court that the company would be able to relocate electric poles from the BRT route in the next few days. On Dec 7, the high court had declared the BRT Project in accordance with the law.

It had disposed of two petitions challenging the BRT project on multiple grounds with certain observations and directives for the relevant officials, including the provincial police chief and EPA DG.

One of the petitions was filed jointly by former provincial minister Amanullah Haqqani and a citizen Wali Khan, while the other was filed by environmentalist Abid Zareef.

The court had ordered the production of progress reports on the project by the PDA, EPA and other relevant departments in its human rights cell.

From time to time, the court has been conducting hearing into petitions about the environmental aspects of the Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project, commonly known as the BRT.

On Thursday, KP Environmental Protection Agency director general Dr Mohammad Bashir had told the court that his organisation had been regularly monitoring the environmental aspects of the bus project. He added that water was being sprinkled along the BRT routes to settle dust.

When the bench asked when the traffic will be smooth on those routes, the DG said efforts were under way to ensure the early completion of work and once that happened, there would be no hurdles to traffic.

Senior superintendent of police (traffic) Yasir Afridi informed the bench that the traffic police had been vigilant on all BRT routes and had been making efforts to address the traffic problems caused by the bus project.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2018

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