Peshawar BRT engineer resigns over poor ‘quality and quantity, corruption’ | Pakistan

PESHAWAR: A senior engineer associated with the Peshawar Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) resigned Wednesday citing issues in the project’s plans as well as “a huge corruption”, Geo News reported.

In his resignation letter, Gohar Muhammad Khan — an assistant resident engineer who stepped down from his role at Peshawar’s BRT — said: “The contractor has been paid a huge amount for nothing,” which, he said, was something that “needs to be addressed”.

“A huge corruption is involved,” he added.

Engineer Gohar Khan noted that the BRT project’s quality and quantity “suffered due to poor supervision by the consultants and [the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA)]”.

The official explained that a structural failure could occur at “any time due to poor foundation provided to the BRT and, as a result, casualties and damages can happen at any time in future”.

Considering his position at the BRT as an assistant engineer, Khan said it was concerning that neither a schedule was provided by the contractor nor a progress report on how much work had been undertaken to date.

“The contractor has not yet submitted any schedule for the completion of BRT project nor progress report has been submitted to any concerned department.

“The contractor of the project has [sublet] the entire project to different non-technical people who don’t even know about construction,” he wrote.

Khan further mentioned that the site inspector did not have any “drawings and specifications of the project” with him to help guide the engineers.

“The engineers were found just to visit the site without any drawing and specifications,” he lamented.

Having received no response from either the consultants, Mott MacDonald Pakistan (MMP) or the director-general of the PDA after he advised that “necessary action regarding the project execution” be taken, the senior official said he had no choice but to resign.

Spiralling problems at TransPeshawar

Earlier this month, Javed Iqbal, the chairperson of TransPeshawar’s Board of Directors, had resigned from his post after the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) blamed the company for a delay in the launch of the BRT.

TransPeshawar is the company responsible for the BRT project design, procurement, implementation, on-going BRT operations, and service contract management.

Sources had informed Geo News that Iqbal resigned to protest the removal of Altaf Durrani, the company’s chief executive officer, and claimed that the decision was unfair and wrong.

In a letter written to the company’s Board, Iqbal had asserted that Pervez Khattak, the chief minister of KP, set unrealistic dates for the BRT project’s completion.

However, Khattak said the project was to be completed in six months but would now be launched in eight months, and that buses purchased for the system would be delivered in June.

Regarding the dismissal of TransPeshawar CEO Durrani, the chief minister commented that he was removed over a delay in the BRT system’s inauguration.

About delays in the launch of the BRT, on the other hand, Khattak told the media that the railway ministry had promised them land for the project but later backtracked on their statement. The KP chief minister added it also took them two years to procure a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

TransPeshawar blamed for BRT launch delay

While it was reported that Durrani was dismissed after the KP Cabinet had briefed Khattak on the matter pertaining to BRT, sources claimed that he was removed over his refusal to procure a bus fleet worth Rs 5.5 billion at a time when the BRT infrastructure and corridor were incomplete.

It was said the CEO had been asked to transport the buses by road from China. However, Durrani had allegedly refused to comply, saying it would increase the cost of each bus by at least $30,000 besides affecting the warranty of the vehicles.

The CEO has also been reported to have informed the government that there was no depot for the hundreds of buses and the infrastructure was also not yet ready for the operation of the vehicles.