PESHAWAR: The much-trumpeted Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been further delayed and the new time of project completion will either be November or December later this year.
The new deadlines were revealed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Finance Minister Abdur Rauf Khan in a press briefing held at civil secretariat on Thursday.
When questioned over the cost escalation of the Peshawar BRT, Khan dodged the question saying the ‘project was very complicated”.
“They (project designers and executors) have complicated the project. It would be quick if they manage to complete the project by December,” he added.
The K-P government started the project in October last year with the former chief minister Pervez Khattak claiming that the project would be completed within six months.
The first deadline set for the completion was April 20 which was extended to May 20. The then Project Director BRT and Director General of Peshawar Development Authority Israrul Haq then told media that the project’s civil work would be completed by June 20 which too has been unachievable.
Regarding the cost escalation of the project, K-P finance secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan who also accompanied the finance minister said that the revised PC-1, sent to the planning commission for approval, mentioned the total cost to be around Rs68.7 billion.
Shakeel added that the initial cost of the project was Rs56 billion in PC-1 but the planning commission had approved its cost at Rs49 billion dropping some of its necessary components which have been added in the revised PC-1.
He said that the project was supposed to be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) and the custom duty and taxes on the buses and other items imported for the project were to be waived off.
“But unfortunately the project was not included in CPEC due to which the custom duties and taxes are to be paid,” he said adding that land purchase also increased the cost and the change in dollar rates increased the material costs thus affecting the project cost.