Pakistan

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has been known for leading up the ‘campaign’ against the incumbent government’s Metro Bus project given its extravagant costs and alleged corruption.

However, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) Provincial Working Development Party (PWDP) on Tuesday approved the revised Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project with a 54 percent increase in the total cost to Rs57 billion as against December 2016’s estimation of Rs37 billion.

The PTI ascribes the ‘unexpected’ cost overrun to improper mapping by two stakeholders: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Transport Department and Peshawar Development Authority.

While it is confirmed that there are certainly some changes in the project’s cost, there are varying reports stating more or less the same figures.

According to Express Tribune, the cost of the project has increased due to the inclusion of Sunehri Masjid Alignment, institutional costs, resettlement costs, land requisition resettlement cost, utilities relocation, financing charges and fleet scraping charges.

“The cost increased owing to lack of proper preparation of the initial design of the BRT. The official said many ‘technical flaws’ were made in the design despite the fact that millions were given to the consultant for preparation of the design.”

“Now after changes in the alignment, the government has again paid millions of rupees for the redesigned plan of the project,” the official told ET.

Despite party’s persistent criticism of federal government for taking foreign loans, it has also emerged that the project has been approved with new cost of Rs57.23 billion, in which Rs50 billion will be provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as a soft loan and Rs7.23 billion by the K-P government.

A senior official of the RDA, while talking to Dawn, said that increase in land and construction material cost, purchase of escalators for bus stations, relocation of shrine on Sixth Road and bus depot land were some of the factors that had contributed to increasing the project cost.

Multiple reasons are being cited for the slow and pricey metro project. Asad Umar and Imran Khan have also been very vocal about how the metro buses are not needed in this country and are a complete waste of resources; not to mention their blatant insistence upon PML-N being corrupt regarding the project.