Having already missed several deadlines, the provincial government has said the multi-billion Peshawar’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project would be completed next year.
The new deadline was disclosed by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Minister for Labour and Culture Shaukat Yousafzai on Monday.
Speaking to a private television channel, Yousafzai said that construction of the mega project is currently underway and is expected to be inaugurated in 2021.
The project’s first deadline for the completion was set as April 20, 2018. But the government missed it and several others since.
Recently, the provincial government hinted at opening the project on August 14 this year.
In January this year, Special Assistant to K-P chief minister on Local Government Kamran Bangash had said that the Reach-I of the project has been completed. He had said Prime Minister Imran Khan will announce a date for inaugurating the project’s Reach-I.
Commenting on the cable car project in the Upper Dir district’s Kumrat valley, the provincial minister said that it will be the world’s largest and highest single cable car service which aims to attract tourists to the scenic valley.
Yousafzai said that K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has approved a feasibility report for the project. Apart from the main attraction of the cable car, facilities will include a car parking space, a restaurant, and other allied facilities.
Meanwhile, addressing a news conference alongside Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar in Peshawar, Mahmood said that like other sectors, the tourism sector has also been badly affected by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
With the tourist industry lying closed at the height of the summer season, Mahmood said that the government is well aware of the difficulties faced by people related to tourism industry due to the lockdown. However, he explained that all possible measures are being taken by the government to protect the lives of the public.
He further said that they have yet to decide whether to open the tourism sector in the province, adding that the matter will be discussed in the next meeting of the National Coordination Council (NCC) and National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and final decision to this effect would be made in consultation with the federal and other provincial governments after Eid.
Warning that there remains some possibility of another wave of cases, he urged residents of the province to strictly follow preventive measures during Eid and avoid visiting tourist spots.
Addressing the news conference, Umar lauded the initiatives taken by the provincial government to contain the pandemic, with K-P facing huge challenges.
The chief minister further said that he had decided to observe Eidul Azha in a simple manner while he has directed all members of his cabinet to do the same, and as such the general public should also celebrate the annual religious festival in a simple manner and ensure that the SOPs prescribed by the government are implemented to prevent another outbreak of the virus.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2020.