PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday transferred Peshawar Development Authority director general Engineer Mohammad Uzair over the long delay in the completion of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project.
A notification issued by the establishment department said PDA DG Engineer Uzair had been transferred and directed to report to the parent communication and works department, while Water and Sanitation Service Peshawar chief executive officer Syed Zafar Ali Shah (BPS-19) from Provincial Management Service would hold the additional charge of the top PDA post with an immediate until further orders.
Sources said slow work on the project led to Engineer Uzair’s removal, which executed the mega project that missed several deadlines to the embarrassment to the ruling PTI.
A source said Mr Uzair was made the PDA chief in April to expedite work on the BRT project but his recent admission on record that the project had progressed at a snail’s pace in the last six months led to his removal.
Sources insist delay in BRT project behind Uzair’s transfer
However, a spokesperson for the PDA claimed that Mr Uzair’s removal had nothing to do with BRT issues and that the transfer was a routine matter. He said six officers had been transferred and had only Mr Uzair been transferred, the BRT would have to blame.
Mr Uzair’s appointment to the top PDA position in April had come following the missing of the March 23 deadline by the bus project.
On April 3, the government had transferred the then PDA chief, Israrul Haq, and transport secretary Kamran Rehman Khan over failure to meet that deadline.
Mr Uzair, who belongs to the communication and works department, was appointed to ‘instill a sense of direction in the mega project, which was going nowhere at that time,’ claimed a source.
He, however, said the project continued to get stuck in the slow lane and it was none other than the sacked officer, who officially raised serious concerns about slow work on the project earlier last month.
In a high-level meeting last month, Mr Uzair had the termed the project progress ‘dismal’.
Mr Uzair told the meeting that in the last six months, the project had ‘progressed at the rate of just six per cent.’
He was responding to the complaint of contractors regarding delay in payments.
Mr Uzair told the meeting that how the contractors could be paid when they had failed to get the assigned task done within deadlines.
The minutes of the meeting showed that the provincial government had tasked the project funder Asian Development Bank with probing and determining where the contractors, consultants, engineers and provincial government had made mistakes and fix the responsibility.
Besides Mr Uzair, the notification said the secretaries of the information and law departments had also been replaced.
It said law secretary Zakaullah Khattak, BPS-20 officer from PCS, had been transferred and posted as the director general of the Pakistan Forest Institute and Masood Ahmad, BPS-20 officer from PCS, who awaited posting at the establishment department, as the law secretary.
The notification said secretary for information and public relations department Mohammad Imtiaz Ayub, BPS-20 officer from PCS, had been transferred and posted as the director general of the Employees Social Security Institution and Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah, BPS-19 officer from PAS the information secretary on arrival from the federal government.
ESSI DG Mohammad Anwar was told to report to his labour department.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2019