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July 19, 2019

BRT project echoes in KP Assembly again

Peshawar

July 19, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) once again echoed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Thursday as the opposition reiterated the demand for a probe into the alleged irregularities in the project through a select committee.

To a question by Nighat Yasmeen Orakzai of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the House was told that pre-feasibility of the project was initiated in November 2013 and completed in May 2014.

The House was informed that two and a half years were spent in preparing the project design, arranging funds and making the PC-1, etc.

It was also submitted that Rs400.19 million had been spent on the GT Road widening and improvement, and Rs199.716 on beautification, including green belts on the Jamrud Road from 2013 to 2018.

However, after the launch of the work on the BRT, the plants and trees were shifted to other sites and saved from wastage, the House was informed.

The legislators were told that the project was divided into three packages and three construction firms were awarded the contract. The work order was issued with the signature of the former director-general of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA).

But the mover said she was not satisfied with the answer as to why millions of rupees were spent on the beautification and road improvement if the BRT plan had been under consideration since 2013 and the contract was awarded to a firm which had been black-listed in Punjab.

Inayatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said one billion rupees were allocated for the beautification and Rs5 billion for the road improvement.

He said it was not correct to state that the trees were safely shifted to other sites or the pre-feasibility was already prepared, adding there was gross mismanagement in the project and it needed to be probed through a proper committee.

Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani, while supporting the demand for a probe through a select committee, demanded constitution of a parliamentary committee to investigate the Billion Tree Tsunami Project, saying the opposition would provide proofs of irregularities in both the projects.

Akram Durrani, the former chief minister, said the opposition was collecting proofs of corruption in the tree project.

Law Minister Sultan Muhammad Khan opposed the suggestion to refer the BRT project to a select committee and said parliamentary committee had been formed for the Billion Tree Tsunami Project but the body failed to bring any solid proofs and the matter was just politicized.

However, KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ghani ruled and said the BRT issue was delayed for a detailed discussion till the next session.

The House also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Monitoring Authority Bill, 2019 and KP Charities Bill, 2019.

The opposition members demanded the Charities Bill should be sent to the Islamic Ideological Council (IIC). Inayatullah Khan said giving Zakat, donation or Sadqaat in the government or administration control was against the spirit of Islam.

He said Karachi was among the five big cities of the world known for charity and the government control would discourage philanthropists and charity organizations, thus leading to a halt of the social welfare at the community level.

Akram Khan Durrani supported Inayatullah Khan and said masajid, madaris and welfare bodies were not being run on help from the government but charities.

He said before passing, the bill should be sent to the IIC for a review to determine whether it was against the spirit of Islam or not.

However, the law minister said such law had already existed since 1953 and regularization of charities was the need of the hour.

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