Shehbaz visits Islamabad
metro station, orders
inquiry on delay in project

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is seen in a Metro bus during an inspection visit to the Peshawar Mor Metro bus station in Islamabad on Thursday. — Picture via PMO

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visits Peshawar Mor Metro bus station in Islamabad on Thursday. — Picture via PMO

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday visited the Peshawar Mor station of the Islamabad metro bus service at 7am and ordered an inquiry into an inordinate delay in the initiation of the service from there to the Islamabad International Airport.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is seen in a Metro bus during an inspection visit to the Peshawar Mor Metro bus station in Islamabad on Thursday.

He resented that the project, launched by the PML-N government in 2017 with a stipulated completion time of a year, remained incomplete to date.

Construction of the 25.6km metro track worth Rs16 billion was started in January 2017. The project was executed by the National Highway Authority (NHA) and was supposed to be completed in August 2018. However, the project faced delay and its civil work was completed last year.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) took over the project in March last year from the National Highways Authority (NHA) under the direction of the federal government and started the process to procure the buses.

During PM Shehbaz’s visit today, officials of the NHA and the CDA briefed him about the project.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visits Peshawar Metro bus station in Islamabad on Thursday.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the premier asked the officials to ensure the installation of racks in the buses to accommodate the luggage of passengers going to the airport.

He expressed dismay over the delay in the project, terming it “severe negligence” while pointing out that Rs16 billion rupees had been spent on the project so far. The prime minister also ordered initiation of a free metro service for residents of the capital during the month of Ramazan.

Delay in project

Dawn reported last month that the corridors and stations of the metro track had already been constructed and now command and control, ticketing, station management, cleanliness and security systems were being completed.

It was also reported that the CDA was planning to inaugurate the bus service on March 23 but due to a delay on part of the manufacturing company in arranging the buses because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the inauguration was delayed till April.

The NHA had the responsibility of only constructing the corridor and civil work and had nothing to do with the buses’ operation.

Similarly, Punjab Mass Transit Authority, which is already running the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service, refused to run the service between Peshawar Mor and the airport and the CDA also stated that being a development authority it had nothing to do with the bus service.

However, sources told Dawn that the prime minister directed the CDA to start the service in a few days by arranging buses from the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service.

The sources said the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Service had extra buses currently parked in a depot.