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August 2, 2018

At last FDE begins getting school buses


August 2, 2018

Islamabad : At long last, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has begun getting school buses from a Karachi-based company under the Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme (PMERP).

The Ghandhara Industries Limited, which assembles, manufactures and sells Isuzu automobiles in the country, has provided 10 yellow buses and will provide 120 more in the days ahead.

Under the PMERP launched in December 2015 to upgrade or put up facilities at government schools and colleges in Islamabad Capital Territory, 200 school buses were to be purchased in two phases.

The FDE, which oversees these educational institutions, had bought 70 buses last year in the first phase but the purchase of the rest was tied up in bureaucratic red tape.

The Ghandhara Industries had got the contract of supplying 130 buses to the FDE under the PMERP’s second phase earlier this year by placing the lowest bid but payments to it got delayed over certain ‘variations in bus specifications mentioned in the tender’ and thus, hampering the delivery of buses.

Fearing their lapse due to the end of the last PML-N-led government’s tenure on May 31, the FDE won over the Capital Administration and Development Division in April for the release of all Rs800 million bus funds to the Ghandhara Industries.

Now, after almost three months, the company has begun supplying buses to the directorate, which will distribute them among the government schools and colleges it oversees in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

A relevant official told ‘The News’ that the FDE had got 10 of the 130 buses and the rest would follow in two months.

He said the 60-65 seater and diesel-powered buses with the minimum 7,800cc engine had come with two years’ warranty for its parts and maintenance, while the company had also furnished a performance bank guarantee and therefore, strict action would be initiated in case of the violation of the contract.

The official said the buses would be parked in the H-8, H-8/4 and H-9 colleges before being distributed to educational institutions totalling more than 400 on need basis.

He said under the education reforms programme, 22 schools were renovated and upgraded in the first phase and 200 in the next.

The official said the PMERP was the brainchild of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and was overseen by her close aides and some FDE officials but its future had been hanging in the balance since the disqualification of her father as the public officeholder by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case in July last year.

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