Peshawar bus project budget to be revised soon

Updated November 12, 2018

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BRT’s revised plan has already been approved by Provincial Development Working Party and CDWP. — File photo
BRT’s revised plan has already been approved by Provincial Development Working Party and CDWP. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) is set to approve a Rs66.4 billion revised plan for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Peshawar this week.

The revised plan of the BRT is being sent to Ecnec on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan which he issued during a meeting with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan at Banigala here on Sunday. It was the second meeting of the prime minster with the chief minister in three days.

The two also discussed the law and order situation in the province, the federal government’s 100-day plan, merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with KP and the local government elections.

The prime minister also discussed with the chief minister issues of education, health and other aspects that are part of the 100-day plan.

“Our political agenda is not artificial and we are not afraid of controversies,” the prime minister said.

The BRT’s revised plan has already been approved by the Provincial Development Working Party and the Central Development Working Party (CDWP).

According to an official press release, the multi-billion-rupee BRT project is not only a bus corridor, but also a grand plan for other roads in the city. There are also designs to construct drainage ways, a cycle track and moving utility service lines along the three-kilometre long underpasses and the 13km long elevated road.

The opposition has been criticising the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf governments — both at the Centre and in KP — for doubling the estimated cost of the BRT project from Rs30 billion to Rs60bn. However, the fact is that the original cost of the project was Rs57bn and the revisions amount to only Rs9bn.

When contacted, a senior official of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) told Dawn that the original cost of the project was Rs57bn, but the CDWP made a 15 per cent cut and removed contingency expenditure — a provision created in all mega projects — reducing its cost to Rs49bn.

Meeting with MNAs

The prime minister has also initiated meetings with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s members of the National Assembly (MNAs) based on divisional groupings. A meeting has already been held with MNAs from the Peshawar division.

It is expected that the prime minister will discuss the issue of a recent video tape in which leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) were complaining to PTI leader Jehangir Tareen about alleged interference of Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar in the affairs the Punjab government.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2018