ISLAMABAD: The Metro Bus Project Implementation Committee is hopeful to get the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro-bus project (MBP) will be completed by the end of January 2015. The major work on Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Road and Ninth Avenue has been completed. “Protest demonstrations by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek caused a delay in the project but they are on track now”, Chairman of the project, Hanif Abbasi said.
He also dispelled the impression of cost escalation due to the delay, saying the contractors have already been informed that they must complete the project in the already agreed cost.
An engineer affiliated with the project, however, said that the implementation committee is responsible for the cost escalation as the work was halted on the committee’s request during the PTI and PAT protest demonstrations. He said that the work on the metro bus project was also being hampered due to involvement of different politicians and officials of Rawalpindi local administration. “Officials from the administration say one thing while members from the implementation committee come up with a different thing,” he said.
The engineer said that the project was suffering a lot due to lack of co-ordination between Rawalpindi district administration and implementation committee. Quoting an agreement between the Punjab Metro-Bus Authority and Turkish firm, he said the government may suffer a loss of Rs 2.6 million per day if it fails to complete the project by January 31 next year.
As many as 24 bus stations are being constructed on the metro-bus route, he said, adding that ten of the stations would be in Rawalpindi while the rest would be in Islamabad. “The construction of metro stations is taking a lot of time but even then we’re trying our best to complete the project before February next year,” he said. The engineer said that the government had given different projects to different contractors and this was another reason behind the project delay. “The work at Peshawar Mor Interchange has suffered the most delay due to negligence and slackness of the contractor,” he said.
The NLC has been awarded contract of the Peshawar Mor Interchange but it has further sublet the project to another contractor, he said. The work on the Islamabad section is in full swing and will be completed in time, he said, adding that the project could be completed in the given timeframe if work on the Peshawar Interchange is completed at a faster pace. The engineer said that a total of 83 escalators and elevators would be established on the 24 bus stations in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to facilitate the commuters. Hanif Abbasi, however, parried the questions about his indictment in the ephedrine case and appointment as chairman of the project.