Contractors face fine for missing BRT deadline

Updated 28 Jan 2020

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The project which was launched in Oct 2017 was initially scheduled to open in April 2018; however, the project missed its first deadline. — Photo courtesy Shahbaz Butt/File
The project which was launched in Oct 2017 was initially scheduled to open in April 2018; however, the project missed its first deadline. — Photo courtesy Shahbaz Butt/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Development Authority has approved fine for contractors over failure to meet the deadline to complete their respective work on the much-delayed Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project.

However, the contractors will pay the interim liquidated damages only after failing to comply with the cut-off date set in a settlement agreement it signed with the PDA lately for the completion of the bus project.

Source told Dawn that Teague MacReen of the Project Management and Construction Supervision Consultant had recommended the imposition of fine to the PDA, the project’s executing agency.

“I am directed to inform you that in light of your strong opinion for invoking the jurisdiction of Clause 9 of the supplementary agreement, the employer (project director BRT) has been pleased to approve the imposition of IDL damages equivalent to 1.67 per cent of the contract price, being joint venture contractor failed to achieve his 1st milestone of Reach III,” read a letter written by a PDA official to the foreign consultant.

A source told Dawn that under the settlement agreement, the contractors had agreed to complete the project in six milestones of 20 days each.

Govt panel had recommended action last Oct

He, however, said contractors working on the project’s Reach II and III had failed to achieve their first milestone prompting the PDA to invoke the provision of settlement agreement to impose interim damages on them.

The source said the contractor working on Reach I managed to achieve his milestone, while other two couldn’t finish their respective work.

He said under the settlement agreement, the contractors had to achieve the milestone within the stipulated time to avoid being fined.

The source said if the contractors failed to achieve the milestone, the interim fine would be turned into a permanent one, which the contractor would have to pay.

He said the IDL imposed for failure to miss deadline in Reach II totaled Rs240-Rs250 million and Reach II’s little less than that due to the lower price tag of the entire section.

In Oct 2019, a project steering committee formed by the government and headed by the additional chief secretary of the province had decided that the engineer would make recommendations to the government for invoking penal clauses and liquidating damages on the contractor in line with the contract.

The project which was launched in Oct 2017 was initially scheduled to open in April 2018; however, the project missed its first deadline.

Thereafter, the project managers kept changing the launch dates from May 20 to June 30 to Dec 31 in 2018 and March 23, 2019, while the project cost jumping to Rs68 billion from initial Rs 49 billion due to frequent design changes.

A National Accountability Bureau probe into the project ordered by the Peshawar High Court into alleged corruption in BRT project was stopped by a Supreme Court bench headed by the then chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar in Sept 2018.

Currently, a five-member Federal Investigation Agency team is probing the alleged irregularities in the project in line with the high court directions.

In Nov 2019, a high court bench hearing three petitions related to the bus project had directed the FIA to probe the project in light of 35 points identified by it and act against delinquents if found in the inquiry report to be complied in 45 days.

The PDA officials were not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2020