There is no substitute for competence
In October 2017 then KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak inaugurated the construction of the BRT project, claiming that it would be completed within six months and once it came into operation, Peshawar would have one of the best traffic systems in the world. Other PTI leaders viewed the project as a “source of pride” and “a game changer” for the city.
Things have not gone the way the KP government had expected. The BRT’s costs have shot up from the original estimate of Rs 49.3 billion to Rs 68.9 billion, and even after 18 months no government official is willing to tell when it is going to become operational. Meanwhile, for the 500,000 estimated commuters of the provincial capital, the still under-construction BRT project has made travel a painful experience. The roads of the city are clogged, its air is polluted and there is mindboggling pressure on traffic.
Unwilling to be held responsible for the shenanigans of his predecessors, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan ordered a probe. The report compiled by the Provincial Inspection Team (PIT) reveals that the project suffers from faulty planning and designing, poor management and negligence in the execution of work. The report also questions the very rationale behind the launch of the BRT project. It notes that instead of making life comfortable, it has created problems that did not exist before. The report also points to the “shadiness of the affairs at play in the project” causing loss to the public exchequer and remarks that havoc has been played with public money while implementing the multi-billion rupee project.
Even after the project is completed it would continue to be a source of day-to-day annoyance to the common man as it has badly damaged, narrowed down and made risky the only major traffic artery the city possesses while depriving it of whatever greenery it had. The government will have to mitigate the problems created by the project before the inauguration, whenever it takes place it. The way funds have reportedly been wasted makes the project a fit subject for probe by NAB.