Mass transit: Incumbents unable to take ‘Babu Train’ from paper to platform

Multiple road projects mushroom without assessing feasibility, remain incomplete.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned a sum of $372,000 to carry out a survey assessing the flow of traffic and pollutants in Peshawar. DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID


As many elected representatives scurry to inaugurate developmental projects in their hometowns, not many look behind to see the problems plaguing Peshawar’s infrastructure.

For the city, traffic is one of the biggest issues which remain unresolved as the five-year tenure of the provincial government nears completion.

While the Punjab Government launched the Metro Bus System in Lahore in an attempt to provide relief to the travel woes of the labourer, office worker and student, it remains uncertain if Peshawar will see any such progress.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s proposed ‘Babu Train’ – a mass transit network – is unlikely to take off during the incumbent government’s rule. As assemblies stand to be dissolved on March 16 and the provincial government looks for its interim replacement, the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) has not even initiated surveys for the feasibility report.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned a sum of $372,000 to carry out a survey assessing the flow of traffic and pollutants in Peshawar. However, the study never saw the light of day, even though the plan was accepted in the last annual budget.

“ADB officials are coming to Peshawar next month to provide technical assistance to the provincial government. Their visit has been delayed for months due to security concerns. Then the government will see how to start this project,” said a provincial transport department official wishing to remain anonymous.

The transport department has also sought permission from Pakistan Railways to use existing railway tracks for a train from Peshawar Cantt to Nowshera. The official said this would help while security issues were being resolved near Bacha Khan International Airport.

When contacted, Peshawar Railway Division transport officer Imran Mashal said the department had given a green signal to the K-P government and the feasibility report will be compiled once ADB officials arrive.

“We do not have any reservations over the usage of this track, but we will charge the provincial government in accordance with railways laws,” said Mashal.

The present government inaugurated the Arbab Sikandar Khan Flyover from Gulbahar to Nishterabad – a 1.6-kilometre-long stretch, which did not help ease the flow of traffic. The effectiveness of Mufti Mehmood Flyover from Peshawar Prison to Bacha Khan Chowk will only be determined if and when construction concludes, reportedly by the end of this year.

There are many plans in the pipeline – the Peshawar Development Authority has started work on two underpasses near Tehkal and Jehangirabad which increased the traffic spill over on Grand Trunk Road. Provincial authorities also plan to construct an overhead pedestrian bridge near the newly-constructed Sikandar Khan Flyover.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2013.


Ali Tanoli | 9 years ago | Reply

getting names from Rahim shah songs khyber pukh and babu train and gandhi express ...

Ali Tanoli | 9 years ago | Reply

Hahahahaha funny like its province name...

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