PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has decided to pay only 50 percent of the arrears to Peshawar Bus Transit (BRT) operators while withholding further payment to Daewoo Pakistan until the Peshawar Bus Terminal is vacated. The government has also issued orders for a complete audit of Peshawar BRT.
Daewoo Pakistan’s lease agreement for the Peshawar terminal expired in October 2022, but the company is yet to vacate the Peshawar terminal due to which the provincial minister had stopped payments of Peshawar BRT services.
Five private companies running the Peshawar BRT had threatened to stop the operation of Peshawar bus transit from Monday if the KP government did not pay their dues of about one billion rupees. Daewoo Pakistan, which operates a fleet of 244 buses for the provincial capital’s 300,000 passengers, says its arrears have reached Rs750 million, while four other companies are also claiming Rs300 million from the government for their services.
Transport Minister Shahid Khattak’s office has sent a letter to the Transport Secretary. The letter says the minister for Transport and Mass Transit has directed to convey that only 50% of the payment may be released to the operator of BRT vehicles and no further payment shall be made until the vacation of RTB Terminal by them given the fact that the lease agreement has already expired in October 2022 and advance notice has already been served for vacating the RTB terminal in the light of the decision made in the 2nd annual meeting of RTB 2022 held on August 18, 2022.The secretary RTB may be asked to make arrangements for ensuring immediate vacation of the RTB terminal from Daewoo Pakistan.
The letter said the recovery shall be made from Daewoo based on the latest rent assessment for the number of months to minimise the loss caused to the government exchequer due to non-vacation and not including the annual increase of 10pc in the expired agreement that Daewoo has been using terminal beyond the expiry of the lease agreement.
“The details of all payments made to all the companies providing services in the BRT projects, in terms of price adjustments and accompanying formulas that have been done in different contracts may also be shared with this office at the earliest for onward submission to the relevant quarter for review and audit, at the earliest possible.”
Meanwhile, a Daewoo Pakistan official told The News that BRT and the bus terminal are run by two separate companies, so it is not correct to link the BRT payments with the bus terminal issues. The BRT contract is under Trans Peshawar and the bus terminal contract was signed with the Transport Department. The 20-year contract for the Peshawar Bus Terminal expired in October last year.
“The provincial government sent us a notice, but the company told the government that it wants to keep the terminal, so the rent should be fixed accordingly”, he said. He said the government asked for a map of the terminal, but we have not received any letter. Rather, the company repeatedly wrote to the government to renew the contract and fix the rent, but the department did not respond.
He said that under the agreement, Daewoo has built a terminal and is paying Rs1.6 million per month and is ready to accept a ten percent increase.
Daewoo had already deposited Rs50 lakh as an advance with the transport department. He said if the government does not renew the agreement, they will close Daewoo’s Peshawar terminal.