PESHAWAR: As the cost of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project skyrockets, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government gets another Rs19.5 billion loan for the project. This time, the government of France is providing the loan of 130 million euro which is equivalent to Rs19.5 billion Pakistani.
The French government will be providing the loan through its agency, the French Agency for Development (AFD) for which an agreement was inked between the government of Pakistan and France on Tuesday in Islamabad.
According to a press release issued by the Embassy of France, the Economic Affairs Division secretary Noor Ahmed, French Ambassador in Pakistan Marc Barety and Country Director AFD Jacky Amprou inked the agreement.
The Peshawar BRT is the flagship and much-trumpeted project of the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The previous government of PTI led by Pervez Khattak launched the project on October 20, 2017, with the claim that the project would be completed in 6 months.
The project, however, is still under construction and the cost has been escalated from the initial Rs49 billion to over Rs68 billion due to frequent changes in its design and devaluation of rupee against US dollar since the launch of the project.
It has been has been widely criticized and even the contractor and consultant working on the project have complained about the changes in the design calling it a major hurdle in the delay and also the main reason in the escalation of the cost.
As per the revised PC-1 of the project, the estimated cost is over Rs68 billion for which the government was in negotiations with AFD to secure a loan for its financing.
The Peshawar sustainable bus rapid transit is considered to be the latest of its kind with diesel operated hybrid buses. The main corridor of BRT starts from the Chamkani and passing through the GT Road, Jail Road, Saddar and University Road ends at the main Karkhanu market close to the border of Khyber tribal district.
It has also feeding routes on which special buses will be operated to transport commuters from various parts of the city to the stations of the main corridor.