Imran Khan during the inaugration ceremony of BRT bus service in Peshawar on Thursday. Twtitter photo
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the much-delayed Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, commonly known as metro bus, on Thursday.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, he said that this was the best metro bus project in Pakistan. "This will have an impact in Peshawar because the city has one main artery that stretches from GT Road to Hayatabad, which chokes when under pressure, resulting in people stuck up in traffic for hours which causes pollution and petrol wastage.”
Imran said that the main artery was 27 kilometres long while the feeder routes were 60km. "This means that all of city will be connected," he said, adding that it was a modern transport system covering Peshawar in its entirety.
The prime minister also admitted to having "reservations" about the project. "I want to say I had reservations about the project. Today, I want to pay tribute to Pervez Khattak because he always said that you will realise the importance of this project once it is completed. So all I want to say is that Pervez Khattak was right and we turned out to be wrong."
Imran Khan (R) and other top officials ride on a Peshawar metro bus after inauguration.
Imran said that the ticket prices for the Peshawar BRT were "just right." "Our programmes should give priority to improving the lives of the common man. Everyone can afford the ticket which ranges from Rs10 (0.02 files) to Rs50 (Dh1.02). There are also tickets for students to make travelling easier for them and hospitals have been connected so people will no longer face difficulties in this regard.”
He added that the project will eventually increase the per capita income in Peshawar and bring prosperity. "When you have a good transport system, it brings change."
The project, built at a cost of Rs70 billion, is a 27.5 kilometre-long corridor track with 31 stations and seven feeder routes stretching 62km with 146 stops to facilitate thousands of passengers every day.
Shortly after the inauguration, the premier, who was accompanied by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and other government officials, was given a briefing on the functioning of the project.
Work on the bus project was launched in October 2017 with the then chief minister, Pervez Khattak, and a deadline of six months for its completion at a cost of Rs49 billion.
However, frequent design changes and retrofitting caused the project to miss the first deadline and also increased its cost by Rs17 billion to a staggering Rs66.43 billion.
Thereafter, the project managers changed the launch dates multiple times. However, the project was still not launched due to a myriad of issues.
"We had a very difficult two years. We didn't have foreign exchange and couldn't pay our debts. We have avoided a huge crisis because we didn't default (payments). But I know it hasn't been easy for the people, I understand the difficulties they faced and still are facing,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi the premier said the federal and Sindh governments had decided to deal with Karachi's problems "together" following negotiations.
Speaking at the launch of this year's monsoon tree plantation drive near Kahuta, Imran said that in order to address the growing pollution levels and national environmental degradation it was vital that concerted efforts were made to plant trees extensively across the country, reports Dawn news.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday that Americans might not know the winner of the November presidential election for months due to disputes over mail ballots, building on his criticism of a method that could be used by half of US voters this year.
Dubai Economy also urged everyone to report any non-compliance to the precautionary guidelines through the Dubai Consumer app available on the Apple and Google stores, by calling 600545555, or by visiting the Consumerrights.ae website.
The government has also introduced a Pass Track Application that all travellers will be required to install in their mobile phones. A health declaration form is also required to be filled 48 hours before arriving in the country.