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BRT project inauguration on March 23 impossible, KP govt told

By Riaz Khan Daudzai
March 08, 2019

PESHAWAR: The TransPeshawar, the company assigned to operate the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the province, has in plain words conveyed to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan that inauguration of the BRT operation would not be possible on March 23 owing to a number of deficiencies in its construction.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of the TransPeshawar officially conveyed to the chief minister in a meeting held on February 27 that the BRT operations could not be commenced on March 23 due to the incomplete infrastructure, an official privy to the meeting told The News on Thursday.

The official said this made the chief minister to warn that those held responsible for the delay would be sacked or at least transferred for failure to meet the deadline and other deficiencies in the project.

March 23 is the 8th deadline the provincial government has given for the inauguration of the most-talked-about project of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The first six-month deadline was given by the then chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak at the time of the ground-breaking of the project on October 19, 2017. However, it could not be met and the authorities have kept giving new deadlines since then.

March 23 is the latest of the deadline but it also seems unattainable due to the recent changes and dismantling of structures in some bus stations of the BRT.

Following the report of the Operational Design & Business Model (ODBM) consultants, selected by the Asian Development Bank and reporting to TransPeshawar, some BRT stations have been dismantled as the BRT lanes and curves at the stations didn't confirm to the minimum width of 6.5m defined in the conceptual design. The report pointed out that the conceptual design should be followed at all these stations.

The report suggested that if the lane does not have the minimum width, the buses would have to substantially reduce the speed to be able to dock and overtake.

Some of the stations, it said, presented a curved shape instead of the straight design as proposed in the conceptual design and the docking of the buses would be hampered if the stations remained in a curved shape.

The stations BS-10, BS-15 and BS-16 have curved shape instead of the straight design proposed in the conceptual design. The docking of the buses would be hampered if the stations remained in the present shape.

The minimum lane width for BRT is 3.5m. No lane at single lane areas can have less than 3.5m and it is important to consider curve widening at the BRT curves, to allow two buses passing (one in each way) at operational speed.

At a station, it is important to consider at least 6.5m for allowing buses to overtake, at the operational speed, and also do the required manoeuvring to dock at and to exit the station. The official said that the entire operation of the BRT would be hampered if the deficiencies were not removed well before its inauguration.

He said the matter had already been brought in to the notice of the chief minister at a meeting on February 27. The chief minister expressed his anguish and concern over the delay and said that he would take action against those responsible for messing up in the project, the official claimed.