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PESHAWAR: Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) has claimed that it had informed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in January this year about continuing nature of changes being made to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

On Monday, NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal had directed the director general of NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to look into the project cost escalation, alleged corruption and those responsible for failure to complete the scheme on time.

PDA issued to media its letter sent NAB on January 4, 2018. The letter notes that the project is going at full swing throughout the corridor. It says that overall scope of BRT project is properly planned and articulated; however, for the reasons to be recorded, till completion variations will keep on occurring in the project on need basis on purely technical grounds as per the site requirement.

The letters speaks of at least eight major design changes made till January in BRT including inclusion of level-II Pir Zakori flyover to smoothen traffic flow on GT-Ring road, addition of one pedestrian underpass near the flyover and replacement of two elevated U-turns, on GT Road with a kilometre long elevated corridor.

The Firdous underpass was replaced with elevated section, reduction and increase in piles depth was made due to unpredictable soil behaviour, an underpasses at Airport-Sir Syed Road junction was replaced by elevated corridor, an underpass on University Road was deleted due to space constraints, six HDPE conduits were included, three on each side of BRT corridor besides charge on drain design in Reach-III and deletion of a bus station in Reach-II.

The project was initially planned to be completed within six months and construction was scheduled to be completed by April 20, however, the deadline has been changed due to design changes.

Last week, the caretaker government said that that project completion before November-December was unlikely, given the technical complexities involving size of the scheme. The BRT project cost has surged to Rs68 billion from initial of Rs49 billion.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2018