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PESHAWAR: Complaining about the slow pace of work on the Bus Rapid Transit project, the local traders have asked the government to ensure speedy execution of the initiative to mitigate the people’s misery.

In a joint statement issued here on Monday, the representatives of traders said the last PTI government had failed to execute the bus project as scheduled and thus, causing problems for the people, especially traders.

They said the trader community had cooperated with the government for the BRT project’s execution and even suffered losses in business due to dust, traffic mess and hurdles to movement of goods but the authorities had miserably failed to ensure early completion of work.

The traders said the Sher Shah Soori Road, University Road and GT Road traders were mostly affected by the project and many of them had closed down business due to a sharp decline in the number of visitors.

They said they’re not opposed to the bus project but they just wanted its early completion.

Anjuma-i-Tajiran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Malik Mehr Ilahi said former former adviser to the chief minister for transport Shah Mohammad had assured traders the successful execution of BRT project within six months of its launch but the assurance turned out to be false.

He also said the government should compensate traders, who had to keep their shops closed to the BRT construction work.

Mr Ilahi also complained about the closure of the road due to the historical sites near Ghanta Ghar and newly-established food street and said traders weren’t allowed to load or unload goods there and thus, forcing many of them to shift to Punjab for business.

He said the closure of Ghanta Ghar Road had diverted traffic load to Shaadipir Road, Karimpura, to the misery of motorists and commuters.

The trader leader said the dust generated by the bus project had caused health and psychological problems for the people.

He asked the chief minister to inspect the BRT-affected bazaars, hold meetings with traders and ensure their compensation for losses.

Mr Ilahi feared that the BRT project won’t be completed by 2021 if the work continued at the current pace.

Tajir Insaf Group president Shahid Khan urged the government to address the people’s misery by ensuring the early completion of the bus project.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018