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February 19, 2021

Controversy arises over remaining work of Bus Rapid Transit

Top Story

February 19, 2021

PESHAWAR: A controversy has arisen over the remaining work of the Bus Rapid Transit at Peshawar. The JV Chinese and local contractors have refused to continue work on the BRT corridor and three mega shopping plazas (depots) worth Rs10 billion. Construction work on all three depots has been stalled for months.

However, the Peshawar Development Authority has decided to replace the JV contractors to complete the remaining work of the PTI flagship project. The Asian Development Bank has approved the assignment agreement to hand over the remaining work to subcontractors.

A PDA source told this scribe that JV contractors had serious reservations on rates of different additional items and nonpayment of their huge dues of Rs5.183 billion and retrenchment of the amount of Rs 3.5 billion. They had further informed the PDA that they have already executed additional works over and above the scope of their contract by 37.6pc and execution of additional works are beyond their contractual obligations.

According to data available with the scribe three mega plazas depot at Chamkani, Dabgari, and Hayatabad is part of the BRT project. The cost of three buildings in PC-1 estimated at Rs 10.5 billion and around Rs 6.6 billion had already been paid to the contractor.

The initial cost of the Peshawar BRT was Rs. 49.345 Billion which was subsequently revised to Rs. 66.437 Billion and got approved by the ECNEC on 14th Nov 2018. The construction work of the BRT Corridor and other civil work was completed under six contract packages

PDA official confirmed that Chamkani depot/ plaza is almost completed and only a park and ride facility is missing and around 63 percent of work on Dabgari plaza has been completed while 37 percent of work is still pending. Similarly, Hayatabad depot has 45 percent of works left while 55 percent has been completed.

Director BRT project Alamzeb Khan told this scribe that the contractor had refused to complete the rest of the work and the PDA had decided to replace them. Asian Development Bank was informed and they hired an expert from FIDIC to review the agreement for the replacement of the contractor. Finally, ADB has approved the PDA requests and accord approval to replace the contractor.

The Project Director said the issue has now been amicably resolved and further additional works will now be executed by the Sub-Contractors through an assignment contract very soon. He said that all the subcontractors were already working with the said companies and the companies had provided their names to PDA.

“A De-scoping the agreement has been prepared and five subcontractors will be assigned the rest of the work on the same rates. The JV Contractors have unconditionally signed the assignment agreements on 25th December 2020”, he said

Regarding the arrears of the contractors, he said that there was a dispute over the arrears for which a three-member dispute committee has been constituted in which the matter will be taken up. The other legal options are also available for JV contractors including international arbitration.

Alamzeb said a revised PC-1 of Rs 69 billion has been prepared for formal approval and hopefully the project will be completed within the revised estimate. Apart from three commercial plazas, some work to be done on the BRT route as well.

The joint venture of three Chinese and one Pakistani company Sichuan Province Geological Engineering Complex (SGEC), China Railway 21st Bureau Group (CR21G), ANHUI Construction Engineering Group Co. Ltd (ANHUI) and Maqbool limited had participated in the bedding process of different packages and won the contracts.

GM Business Development Engineer Sohail Anwar of JV contractors told this scribe that The PDA & Consultants have asked the JV-Contractors to execute some more additional works as per site requirement but the JV-Contractors have excused rendering the same on the pretext that they have already executed additional works over & above the scope of their contract by 37.60 % and execution of further additional works are beyond their contractual obligations & against the norms of the contracts. Sohail Anwar said that an amount of Rs 5.183 billion arrears and Rs 3.5 billion retrenchment amount is still pending. As a result, all the companies are facing difficulties in making payments.