he French embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday announced that it was extending a Rs 20.5 billion (Euro 130 million) loan to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for completing the Peshawar metro bus project, that has been in limbo for nearly two years since its groundbreaking in October 2017.
According to a press release, the credit facility agreement was signed between French Ambassador Marc Barety, French Agency for Development Country Director Jacky AMPROU and Economic Affairs Secretary Noor Ahmed.
According to the embassy’s press statement, the project will provide safe, efficient and well integrated mass transit system improving energy efficiency and air quality through reduction of Green House Gas emissions, the press release stated.
It’s been nearly two years since the groundbreaking of the much orchestrated Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project that was to be completed within “six months”.
On October 19, 2017, the then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister Pervez Khattak broke ground on the multi-billion-rupee project aimed at providing comfortable transportation to the residents of Peshawar.
Launched with the Asian Development Bank’s assistance, ex-KP CM Khattak had announced that the 26-km-long project would be completed by April 2018, but it was later delayed to May 20.
However, the Peshawar BRT has lied in limbo ever since its inauguration, as the PTI government, while auditing the affairs of Rs29.65bn Lahore and the Rs28.5bn Multan metro buses, has failed to finalise the total cost of its own project.
According to reports, the government has approved the cost escalation of 38 per cent for the project, revising upward from Rs49bn to Rs68bn.
The revised cost, which still might not be the final one, is 53.46 per cent higher than the total cost of Punjab’s most expensive mass transit project – the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus – that was completed at a cost of Rs44.31bn.