Body formed to investigate delay in Metro bus project completion

ISLAMABAD-Federal Secretary Communications Shoaib Ahmed Siddqui constituted a committee to ascertain the facts behind continuous delays in completion of Peshawar Mor to New Airport Metro Bus project.

The committee comprises of two senior officers of the Ministry of Communication, Director General Monitoring and Evaluation Tanveer Hussain and Section Officer (Technical) Sehrish Mazari.

The committee members will visit the project site and check the physical progress, quality of work done by the contractor and allocations made in the budget while they will also ascertain the reasons for delay of the project.

The project extending Metro Bus from Peshawar Mor to New Islamabad International Airport is facing continuous delays in its completion due to the lack of interest of the incumbent government.

With the inauguration of New Islamabad International Airport at the western corner of the capital city, the housing activity has also been geared up and people living in the area are anxiously waiting for the metro bus service to ply on its designated route.

Furthermore, common people are also forced to pay heavy cab fares to reach new airport to get their flight in the absence of metro bus service.

However, like many other projects, the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf looks uninterested to fund the metro bus project because it was launched by the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and there is no political mileage in completing such projects.

According to NHA’s officers, over 90 percent work is completed as bus corridor is ready for use while the finishing work on only 2 out of total 7 bus stations is left behind.

However, it is unclear that who will operate the bus service once the structure is completed as both the National Highway Authority and Capital Development Authority are shifting the burden on each other –citing the reason that to operate a bus service is not their mandate.

The Punjab Metro Bus Authority is running a similar bus service on the Rawalpindi-Islamabad route, but the authority refused as well, saying it is financially non-viable project.

Sources said that the Prime Minister office is working on multiple options to operate the bus service on this route; however, no final decision has been taken so far.

The 25.6 kilometre-long extension of the Islamabad Metro Bus project was approved in January 2017 to link the new Islamabad International Airport to the capital.

The project was to be completed in August 2017 but was further extended to December 2017 and August 2018 while its last original deadline was December 2018.

The project includes construction of a dedicated, two-lane, signal-free corridor – 9.60 to 10.40 meters wide sections on the ground and in trenches and 22.50 to 23.70 meter at stations.

Moreover, a 3-lane carriageway with shoulders on either side of the metro corridor from the Golra Morr Interchange to the Grand Trunk (GT) Road Interchange are also its parts to ensure the free flow of traffic and turnings along with the construction of flyovers and underpasses on existing roads and allied works.

On April 12, 2017, the ECNEC approved the project at a rationalised cost of Rs16.428 billion against the proposed cost of Rs16.86 billion.

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