PESHAWAR: The procedural technicalities and frequent design changes are likely to push the completion of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s flagship Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project beyond the new deadline, officials claim.
The Peshawar Development Authority, the executing agency, has set March 23 as the new deadline for the launch of the multi-billion rupees bus service, which has been delayed by 11 months.
Work on the BRT has been suspended at six locations due to the procedural technicalities and other hurdles.
Officials blame delay in start of bus service on technicalities, frequent design changes
According to the original plan, the BRT buses were to ply the track in May 2018.
The government changed the deadline for the project’s completion many times.
The frequent changes to the BRT design has escalated the project’s cost from Rs49 billion to Rs69 billion. The Asian Development Bank is financing the project.
The PDA officials insisted that the meeting of the new deadline greatly depended on two state entities i.e.
Wapda and Pakistan Railways, which were to lay new transmission line on Sonehri Masjid Road in cantonment areas and issue no objection certificate for the installation of heavy girders to complete elevated track over the cantonment railway station, respectively.
A relevant official told Dawn that work on BRT track on the Sonehri Masjid Road had been suspended for four months due to the delay in the shifting of the existing power cables.
He said the power lines passed over the elevated portion of the BRT track and the construction won’t resume until the Wapda relocated them.
“Delay in the removal of electricity lines has delayed civil work for more than three months. The PDA may not meet the new deadline if the Wapda does not finish its work immediately,” he said, adding that the authority had scheduled to start work on Wednesday.
The official said the PDA had been waiting for the Pakistan Railways’ NoC for the installation of girders over the cantonment station to complete the elevated portion of the track.
He said a total of 18 girders would be installed over the railway track.
The official said the NoC request was submitted to the railways two months ago and even the due payment had been made for land acquisition but action on it had yet to be seen.
Sources said the PDA had paid Rs450 million to the Pakistan Railways for acquiring land and using its space at four different locations.
They said the PDA would pay an additional amount of Rs120 million to the railways for putting up the elevated track in Karkhano Market near Hayatabad.
The sources said the PDA purchased around 30 kanals of land from the cantonment board at Aaman Chowk near Gorra Qabristan at the ‘very high’ rate of Rs1.2 billion.
They said Rs300 million had been paid to the board.
The intersection including a public park has already been used for traffic.
Separately, the PDA will pay Rs1.8 billion to the Wapda, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited for relocating their installations.
When contacted, Engineer Shah Nawaz, the Pakistan Railways focal person for BRT project, claimed that the PDA didn’t submit girder launching plan and safety certificate to the ministry.
He said the Pakistan Railways had asked the PDA to produce the relevant documents required for the issuance of NoC.
“We are ready to issue the sought-after NoC if the PDA submits the required documents,” he said, adding that the authority had yet to pay Rs120 million for acquiring space in Karkhano Market.
On the other hand, the PDA abandoned its plan to install concrete girders for building 1.7 kilometers elevated track from the Lady Reading Hospital to the cantonment railway station for bicyclists and pedestrians after an inspection team of Asian Development Bank found the structures faulty.
Sources said the ADB team observed that the U-shaped concrete girders were so narrow that they couldn’t accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians and therefore, they should be replaced with steel girders.
The U-shaped concrete girders are to be used for the pedestrians’ movement and overhead bridges in Hayatabad and Chamkani areas. The company has constructed a total of 35 U-shaped girders to be shifted to Hayatabad and other locations.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018