PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project is likely to face further delays as the Peshawar Development Authority has failed to clear the contractor’s payments piling up the bills to over Rs3 billion, local media has reported.
The much-anticipated project has witnessed much mayhem over the last couple of weeks with three deadline changes, chaos at the fledgling company set up to run the bus service and the most recent being the authorities’ failure to ensure timely transportation of the prototype bus to the provincial capital.
Inside sources have claimed that long delays in the clearing of bills on part of the project execution agency PDA has led to the accumulation of over Rs3 billion for all three reaches of the project.
“The accumulated liabilities for each reach of the project are over Rs1 billion,” the source said.
Sources also said that contractors faced great troubles in making payments to vendors and labourers and for fuel charges.
“The bills have got stuck with the PDA for the last 40 days and the contractors are facing problems in paying their staff and clearing other dues,” a source said.
He said the contractors were incurring charges up to Rs100 million on a daily basis and had no means to adjust huge daily expenditure due to long delays on part of the PDA.
“Due to the cash problems, even the work has slowed down to around 20 percent. It could also delay the project for more than five months,” he said.
He said there was 40-60 days time to clear the contractors’ bills, while the contractors had to borrow items from the market on a daily basis and therefore, the failure to make payments was creating problems for them.
The provincial government has set July 20 as the new deadline for the project’s launch after missing earlier ones.
The sources, however, said the contractors were struggling pay wages to around 4,000 labourers and for iron, cement and other equipment.
The source said usually, the official red tape was responsible for the delay.
The project administration manual provides for the direct payment procedures for making payments to contractors, suppliers of goods and supervision consultants.
It says there are four anticipated large civil works contracts which will be administered by the PDA, while the contractors will submit an invoice along with an interim progress certificate showing the completed civil works for the period.
“The construction supervision consultants will review the interim progress certificate against the contract and endorse the invoice to PDA. Upon satisfactory review, PDA’s Project implementation unit (PIU) will prepare a withdrawal application (WA) for direct payment to the contractor, for the signature of loan authorised signatories. The ADB will make payment to the contractor based on the submitted WA,” it reads,
The Peshawar BRT has suffered several delays in the last weeks.
Scheduled to open on April 20, the project was delayed until May, which was also missed.
The KP government was adamant of running a prototype bus on a completed portion of BRT corridor. However, the buses didn’t arrive in the city on time, leading to the sacking of TransPehsawar chief executive officer and the subsequent resignations from the company tasked to run the BRT operations.
A prototype bus being bought at the hefty price of $30,000 has got stuck on the Pakistan-China border for several days. It is unlikely to reach here before the end of the PTI government’s tenure ending shortly.
Sources said the bus project’s cost had jumped to Rs62 billion and the PC-I was being prepared to account for cost escalation.
Earlier, this month, three companies, including Daewoo Pakistan and two Turkish companies, have submitted bids for running BRT operations.
Of this, a Turkish joint venture Compak Temizlik Bilgi Islem Otem Saglik Hiz, Inc Tic A S and Gur sel Turizm Tasimilick ve servis ticrat, as has submitted the lowest bid of Rs139 per kilometer per bus.
BRT project spokesman Ikramullah Gandapur denied delay in the bills clearance.
“It would be a delay once the period exceeds 28 days,” he said, adding that in the current case, the bills were being cleared regularly.
Gandapur said in case of the Peshawar BRT, the bill clearance was a three-stage process, wherein consultant verified bills submitted by the contractor after which the PDA asked the ADB to release the money.
He said the clearance of a bill usually took from one week to 10 days and not more than that.