Govt plans to ‘buy and scrap’ private buses on BRT route, PHC told

Updated 03 Sep 2020

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The lawyer said rickshaws or cabs were mostly used by patients, elderly people and students, so banning them on main roads would inconvenience commuters. — Photo by Shahbaz Butt/File
The lawyer said rickshaws or cabs were mostly used by patients, elderly people and students, so banning them on main roads would inconvenience commuters. — Photo by Shahbaz Butt/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the provincial government to produce a detailed report on its plan to buy and scrap public transport buses plying on the Bus Rapid Transit route, and compensate their owners.

A bench consisting of Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Nasir Mahfooz also asked the government to explain what it was going to do with the scrap of buses and income generated by it and what the future of bus drivers would be.

It summoned the chief executive officer of the TransPeshawar company, which supervises the BRT Project, to appear before it on Sept 29 and adjourned hearing into a petition of rickshaw driver Alamzaib against the ban on rickshaws and cabs plying on BRT route.

The lawyer for the petitioner said the government issued a notification on July 20 restricting route permits for rickshaws and cabs and banning their plying on the BRT route.

Court seeks report on it, future of bus drivers

He said the BRT route was spread over around 30 kilometers and passed through all main areas of the provincial capital.

The lawyer said rickshaws or cabs were mostly used by patients, elderly people and students, so banning them on main roads would inconvenience commuters.

He said the government’s move would render thousands of rickshaw drivers out of work.

The lawyer said the transport department wasn’t renewing route permits of around 35,000 rickshaws registered with it.

Provincial advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt and additional advocate general Syed Sikander Hayat said the government had restricted the movement of rickshaws only on the BRT route to prevent traffic congestion and that they’re free to ply on other roads of the city.

When the bench asked about the future of those rendered jobless by the BRT project, the regional transport secretary, who showed up on the court’s notice, said the government had made a comprehensive plan to purchase private buses plying on the BRT route before turning them into ‘scrap’.

He said owners of those buses would be duly compensated.

The bench ordered the production of a report about the plan to buy and scrap those buses.

BLOCKING OF CNIC ORDERED: A high court bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar ordered police officials from Charsadda and Swabi districts to block the computerised national identity card and bank accounts of a person, who has allegedly taken away his son from his mother around a year ago.

Abuzar, who is around six, was allegedly kidnapped by his paternal uncles and was handed over to his father, Mudassir Shah.

The bench directed the police to interrogate the boy’s two uncles and produce him and his father on next hearing.

Lawyers Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel and Zeenat Muhib Kakakhel appeared for the boy’s mother, who filed a petition with the high court seeking recovery of his son.

The counsel said the child was kidnapped by his uncles from the school for around a year ago and was handed over to his father, Mudassir Shah, whose whereabouts are not known.

They said the petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition with the sessions court of Charsadda, where the court was informed by the relatives that Mudassir Shah had shifted to Swabi.

The counsel said the petitioner later moved the sessions court of Swabi but the police failed to trace the child’s father, who had kidnapped him.

The bench observed that tracing a person was not difficult in the current times and smart CNIC card and mobile phone connections of Mudassir Shah could be helpful.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2020