PESHAWAR, Jan 31: With completion of its term only a few weeks away, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planned mass transit system for the provincial capital.
Highlighting performance and achievements of the transport department during the last four and a half years, provincial minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a news conference on Thursday said a special initiative feasibility study on mass transit system for Peshawar had been approved and that would be conducted with the technical assistance of Asian Development Bank.
He added that a memorandum of understanding had already been signed under which the bank would provide $372,000 million for the study work on which is likely to get underway next month.
The minister said terms of reference had been prepared and the hiring of international consultant/expert was under process for the proposed plan. He said the proposed mass transit system would help ease traffic pressure in the provincial capital.
Transport secretary Sikandar Qayyum, who was accompanying the minister, said data of vehicles and road network would be studied in the feasibility report, which was likely to be finished in June next year.
He said the existing railway track passing through the city, cantonment up to Hayatabad, would be covered in the feasibility report and the facility could benefit the users of inter-city roads.
The secretary said the department concerned had no consolidated data about vehicles therefore it was imperative to compile first hand information about vehicle population and road network in Peshawar. He said the planning development department and Peshawar Development Authority would also assist the project.
The minister said encroachment and security barriers were root causes of traffic mess in the city.
He said one of the 11 roads in Peshawar was fit for traffic, while the remaining could not be used due to encroachments. He added that efforts were underway to remove these encroachments to make them useable for traffic.
The minister said the size of revenue from the transport sector had increased due to financial management and in the last four and a half years, the department had generated the Rs439.11 million revenue, which was 85 per cent of the target of Rs580.85 million.
He said vehicular testing emission centres, training centres, motor vehicle examiners and issuing driving licences previously operating under the local government, police and environment departments had been handed over to the department. He said VETS facility had been introduced in Abbottabad, Dera Ismail Khan and Mardan, where 144,882 vehicles had been examined and that these stations had generated Rs 16.596 million through vehicle examination.
Mr Hussain said for Afghanistan, the number of route permits had been increased from six to 13 due to higher demand.
He said the department had introduced computerised route permits for the regional transport authority and the provincial transport authority in 2012.
Regarding delay in the construction of general bus stand in Peshawar, the minister said Chinese companies were interested in establishing standard bus terminal but the company could not deploy manpower in the wake of attacks on Chinese engineers.
He admitted that the department could not implement the prescribed inter-cities transport fare rates.