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September 19, 2020

A burning issue

Editorial

 
September 19, 2020

The ruling party had said that the BRT project in Peshawar would set alight a transport system in the sense of providing it new speed, new efficiency and new power. Turns out it has been set alight in a totally different fashion. So far four buses have caught fire, the latest incident occurring just days ago. Following this, a Chinese team has been called in to look into the problem and suggest solutions. The company which is examining the buses and the track had provided the metro buses running in Peshawar and also insured them. The government says that the decision to close the BRT after the latest fire is only a temporary one, and that the service would be resumed as soon as the Chinese team gives the go-ahead.

It does not take experts to say that some technical issue is involved. Four buses catching fire, cannot be a coincidence even in the hot weather Peshawar is currently facing. Apart from the four bus fires, there has been the fire on the roof of one bus and the breakdown of two other buses for unknown reasons, forcing passengers to leave the bus and walk to their destinations. This is not the most promising beginning to a much-awaited project. We need to see what the reasons are for the issues being faced. Even before the project was launched, there had been concern over some aspects of its design with respect to the width of the track along which the buses run.

Of course, the fires present a real danger to lives. The provincial minister in charge for the metro project has accepted this and said they had agreed with the Chinese company to stop the buses from running for a limited period to ensure there is no risk to lives and that the issue could be resolved. Given the amount of money spent on the project, we hope that this happens very soon. But for now, the fires aboard the buses are another embarrassment for the KP government and its ministers. This should not have happened. The project has already been delayed a long time, we would now expect that it would at least run smoothly and provide people the service they require.