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Peshawar's bus service's launch put off indefinitely.

Byline: Manzoor Ali

PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday decided to put off the launch of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit for an indefinite period following the refusal of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to inaugurate an incomplete project.

The government had kept saying for weeks that the bus service would be launched on March 23.

The information department phoned media outlets on Friday afternoon asking them to send teams to cover what it called the BRT service's 'test run'.

CM says he won't open incomplete BRT project, PM also suggested so

Information minister Shaukat Yousafzai, representatives of the Peshawar Development Authority and TransPeshawar, and journalists rode three buses on the BRT corridor from the city's western tip, Hayatabad, to the eastern terminus in Chamkani.

In the meantime, the Chief Minister's House issued a statement quoting the chief minister as saying that he had decided that he won't open an incomplete project.

With the information minister blaming rains for the delay in the bus service's launch, the chief minister said the BRT project was far from complete and therefore, he had decided against opening it.

Mr Mahmood said significant progress had been made on the BRT but some work, including that on bus stations, was still pending.

'I have decided that I will not open an incomplete project,' he said in the statement.

The chief minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan had also advised him not to inaugurate an incomplete project for political gains as that went against the ruling PTI's agenda for real change.

He said the PTI didn't believe in 'takhti' (plaque unveiling) politics and therefore, he would inaugurate the service only when the corridor was available for use.

'I understand that the citizens of Peshawar have been inconvenienced and I feel their pain. We are working hard to resolve it. However, this project is very important for the city of Peshawar. It's the biggest investment ever made by any government in the city,' he said.

Mr Mahmood said after completion, the project would help turn Peshawar into a modern city and that he had asked the officials concerned to complete work on the mixed traffic lanes as quickly as possible and improve traffic flow in the city.

He ordered an investigation into drainage issues in the city and find ways to fix them.

The chief minister also ordered the early completion of work on the corridor.

Mr Mahmood, who had earlier threatened to sack the relevant officials in case of failure to launch the bus service on March 23, said he was issuing the final warning to all those concerned to get their acts together.

'The only reason I am not dismissing them (officials) is because they have to complete what they'd committed. I warned them not to test the patience of the people,' he said.

The decision to postpone the launch of the incomplete bus service was made by the government following a consultation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The governor and other members of the provincial were also in attendance during the meeting.

Work on the project was launched in Oct 2017. The provincial government and the project executing agency, PDA, kept feeding the people with an unrealistic deadline of opening the project within six months on April 20, 2018. However, the deadline was missed. The project managers changed the launch date from May 20 to June 30 to Dec 31 in 2018 to March 23, 2019.

Though the KP government claims that the civil work is complete, only one of the 30 bus stations has been established, while the introduction of BRT control system, including arrival of equipment for fare collection, fleet management and other related tasks, is likely to begin this month. The exercise is likely to conclude in November this year.

These goods will reach the country in eight lots with two arriving in Islamabad by air and the rest by sea.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 23, 2019
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