Peshawar: Top managers of BRT project removed alleged poor management and faulty planning

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Peshawar (Web Desk) The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday removed two top managers of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project more than a week after the ruling PTI’s flagship project missed the March 23 deadline.

The removal of secretary for the transport and mass transit department Kamran Rehman Khan and Peshawar Development Authority director general Israrul Haq came amid trickling information about a damning report by the Provincial Inspection Team (PIT), pointing out serious technical issues in project planning and execution.

Provincial establishment department on Tuesday issued two separate notifications announcing the removal of both officials.

“The competent authority is pleased to transfer Kamran Rehman Khan, PAS, BPS-20, secretary transport and mass transit department and directed to report him to the establishment department,” a notification said.

It added that Dr Mohammad Fakhr-i-Alam Irfan, PAS, BPS-21, senior member of the Board of Revenue, would hold the additional charge of the post of the transport and mass transit secretary.

The other notification said DG PDA Israrul Haq, BPS-19, Pakistan Audit and Account Service, had been repatriated, while commissioner of Peshawar division Amjad Ali Khan, PAS, BPS-19, was given the additional charge of his office until further orders.

The removal of both officials, who had steered the project since its groundbreaking, came after initial hesitation of the provincial government. Earlier, the chief minister had promised to sack the relevant officials in case of their failure to launch the bus service on March 23.

As the BRT managers had missed the fifth deadline of March 23, the chief minister refused to inaugurate the service saying he would never open an incomplete project.

He ordered the PIT the same to investigate the delay in the project’s launch to fix responsibility.

However, sources in the PIT told Dawn that though the report of an inquiry into the project’s technical aspects was submitted to the chief minister a couple of days ago, they had yet to receive orders for the second inquiry into the matter to fix responsibility.

Officials familiar with the contents of the PIT report told Dawn that it was mostly related to the technical aspects of the project and highlighted the mistakes, which led to the delay in the project’s completion and ballooning of its cost.

“One thing that is beyond any doubt that the project was subjected to unrealistic deadlines, which made a mess of this mega enterprise,” a senior government official said.

The official said it would have been better if the project would have been carried out in a phased manner.

“Ideally, they should have built the Chamkani up to the Firdous Chowk section as a pilot project and later other sections could have been added to it,” he said, adding that the crucial project could have been easily completed within three years, instead of unholy haste, which led to the current mess.

Work on the Peshawar BRT project was launched on Oct 20, 2017, and it was scheduled to open on April 20, 2018.

Afterward, the deadline was rescheduled from May 20 to June 30 to Dec 31, 2018, and to March 23, 2019. The project’s cost has also gone up to over Rs66 billion from the initial Rs49 billion due to the frequent changes to its design and reverse engineering.

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