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KP CM Mahmood Khan’s action: Secretary Transport, DG PDA removed for failure to meet BRT deadline

By Riaz Khan Daudzai
April 03, 2019

PESHAWAR: In keeping with his commitment to punish those responsible for the inordinate delay in the completion of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government's flagship Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Tuesday removed the heads of the two main departments executing the project.

The competent authority on the directives of the chief minister transferred Secretary Transport and Mass Transit retired Flight Lieutenant Kamran Rehman (PAS BS-20). The officer was directed to report to the Establishment Department, an official phrase used to describe somewhat laying-off of the officials as officer on special duty (OSD). The post of an OSD is like a mid-way out which allows government to post the officer wherever it wants.

Consequent upon the removal of Kamran Rehman, Dr. Muhammad Fakhar-e-Alam Irfan (PAS BS-21), Senior Member Board of Revenue (SMBR), has been authorised to look after the additional charge of the post of the Secretary Transport.

Another officer who faced the chief minister's wrath is Israr-ul-Haq, director general (DG), Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), the main executing agency of the BRT project. Israr-ul-Haq (PA&AS BS-19), an officer of the Accounts Group, has been transferred and directed to report to his parent Department, Auditor General of Pakistan in Islamabad. Commissioner Peshawar division Amjad Ali Khan (PAS BS-19), has been authorised to hold additional charge as DG PDA till the posting of fulltime DG.

Both the officers were posted on these positions by the previous PTI-led coalition provincial government and given a free hand to execute the project. But they failed to live up to the expectations of the government and people of the province.

About eight deadlines given for the completion of the project were missed. The BRT became an object of ridicule for the PTI provincial government as the opposition spared no opportunity to criticize it for the delays and the escalation in its costs.

The chief minister was infuriated so much by the repeated delays and changes in the deadlines for completion of the project that he finally decided to act. He was told on February 27 by the chief executive officer (CEO) of the TransPeshawar, the company assigned to operate the BRT that owing to a number of deficiencies in the construction the inauguration of the metro bus service would not be possible as scheduled on March 23.

The chief minister reportedly refused to inaugurate the incomplete project on March 23 and issued a warning that he will sack or at least transfer those responsible for the failure to meet the deadlines and other deficiencies in the BRT project.

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 kept giving new deadlines. March 23 was the latest deadlines which could not also be attained

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on March 23 ordered inquiry into the delays. He directed the Provincial Inspection Team to probe the matter and submit its report forthwith so that those responsible for the lapse could be made accountable.

He also made it clear no leniency would be shown to those showing recklessness in the completion of the project and quality of work. The Provincial Inspection Team was directed to ascertain the reasons and identify those responsible for the inordinate delay.

The initial finding led to the removal of the two officers who were heading the main executing agencies of the BRT. The Provincial Inspection Team is continuing to look into the matter and it is possible some other officers may also face action.