The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reportedly declared the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project “transparent”, stating that the companies for the project were shortlisted by the bank, according to a media report.
According to a statement, the project was also discussed during a recently held ADB Board of Directors meeting.
Earlier, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to open investigations into the BRT project and submit a report in this regard on September 5.
The petition was submitted by Amanullah Haqqani, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Fazlur Rehman’s group (JUI-F), stating that a feasibility report of the project had not been prepared before it was started. The petitioner accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of misleading the public to make them believe the project would be completed within six months.
“The delay, the contract awarding process, feasibility and other issues related to the project of BRT are shady and shaky,” Chief Justice of the PHC Waqar Ahmad Seth said in a written order. The verdict was coauthored by Justice Mussarat Hilali.
The order stated that the scope of the project had increased by 50 per cent while the last date of its completion was June 21. It went on to add that the initial approved cost was an estimated Rs48.3 billion but a revised proposal called for an approval of Rs67.9 billion. This, the court said, needed further investigation.
The PHC observed that the project was contracted to a company that had been blacklisted by the Punjab government and that funds from other public projects were shifted to it. The court relieved project director Israrul Haq of his duties, stating they had no objection to his transfer elsewhere.
The court had earlier referred the matter to the human rights directorate of PHC, directing it to furnish a report regarding the progress of work, its environmental hazards and traffic issues at the end of each month.
Meanwhile, the construction companies have sped-up work on the project as work on Reach-I will be completed by August 30 and it will get operational by Sept 5.
Construction work is also underway on Reach-II and Reach-III of the project.