Peshawar BRT won’t be costlier than Lahore Metro, claims KP ministerArchive
LAHORE: Rejecting former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif’s claim about the cost of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister Shaukat Yousafzai has said he will resign if the project’s cost proves to be even a rupee more than the Lahore Metro Bus project.
Mr Yousafzai was commenting on Mr Sharif’s tweet wherein he claimed that the cost incurred on Peshawar BRT was higher than the that of accumulative cost of Lahore, Islamabad and Multan metro bus projects.
Speaking at a ‘Meet The Press’ event held at the Lahore Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Yousafzai claimed the Peshawar BRT would be made operational in April this year.
Demanding that Mr Sharif should prove his claim about BRT cost, he said the PML-N’s media cell was unaware of the reality and was busy in “strange propaganda” without applying any brakes.
“The Lahore Metro Bus Service (MBS) was made operational with a total cost of Rs38 billion, while the BRT will be ready at the cost of Rs35 billion,” he claimed. He added that BRT would offer “third generation facilities” while Lahore MBS was providing “second generation facilities” to the people.
The KP minister also stated that the BRT’s 28-kilometres long route included 13kms elevated and 3.5kms underground track and called for comparing it with the Lahore MBS. He also suggested comparison between the dollar exchange rate in 2011-12, when MBS was established and the current one.
Mr Yousafzai said the PTI government remained busy in resolving the issue of inclusion of FATA in KP for about a year in the face of opposition by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and behind-the-scene opposition parties. “We faced all hurdles and eventually organised FATA elections and now their MPAs prepare their budget in the KP Assembly,” he said.
Out of Rs100 billion development funds committed by Prime Minister Imran Khan for FATA, he said, some Rs85 billion had been approved. “Tenders are in process and soon people will see fast pace development in FATA.
Referring to the unbridled price-hike, the minister said the PML-N government had raised the $5 billion current deficit to $19 billion by taking loans to maintain the dollar exchange rate. “The incumbent PTI government has now brought down the current deficit to $6 billion, the figure recorded in the Gen Pervez Musharraf era. “The PTI government will bring down the current deficit to zero,” he claimed.
Stating that the prime minister was passionate about the promotion of tourism, he said, the KP had ample treasure for natural beauty as well as religious tourism. He said the Taxila museum had two teeth of Buddha, while Sri Lanka and Japan had one each. “The tourism will strengthen KP’s local economy, besides generating jobs for the youth,” he said.
Mr Yousafzai also said the KP had built its Swat motorway from provincial kitty and now looking to build D.I. Khan motorway for province’s south districts.
Answering a question about Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s latest protest plan, he said, the Maulana’s three plans backed by the PML-N and PPP had failed and let’s see how he would protest all alone this time.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020