One full year has passed since the groundbreaking of the much orchestrated Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that was to be completed within “six months”, and the controversy surrounding the long-awaited project is continuing to deepen amid the government’s inability to complete it or determine the project’s total cost.
On October 19, 2017, the then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister Pervez Khattak broke ground on the multi-billion-rupee project aimed at providing comfortable transportation to the residents of Peshawar.
Launched with the Asian Development Bank’s assistance, ex-KP CM Khattak had announced that the 26 km long project would be completed by April 2018, but it was later delayed to May 20.
However, the Peshawar BRT has lied in limbo ever since its inauguration, as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, while auditing the affairs of Rs29.65 billion Lahore and the Rs28.5 billion Multan metro buses, has failed to finalise the total cost of its own project.
According to reports, the government has now approved the cost escalation of 38 per cent for the project, revising upward from Rs49 billion to Rs68 billion.
The revised cost, which still might not be the final one, is 53.46 per cent higher than the total cost of Punjab’s most expensive mass transit project – the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus – that was completed at a cost of Rs44.31 billion.