PESHAWAR - After the removal of Peshawar metro bus Chief Executive Officer Iltaf Durrani by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister last month, three other top officials resigned on Saturday, leaving the future of the entire project in the balance.

Chairman Board of Directors of Trans-Peshawar Javed Iqbal, Chief Finance Officer Safdar Awan and General Manager Operations and Market Development Mohammad Imran Khan tendered their resignations, leaving the company without its top management.

In a letter, Iltaf Durrani had said that the government was forcing him for early purchase of buses without following rules and regulations. He said that there was great pressure on him for advance purchase of buses in April, but the Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) project lacked parking facilities and a depot and laying the track will take some time to complete as per the rules of the Asian Development Bank.

“I would categorically say that based on the requirement of the Asian Development Bank procurement procedure and the achieved pace of work of the civil infrastructure work, both April 20 and May 20 dates were unrealistic and unjustified,” he had said in the letter.

He further said that his removal from the post of CEO was unfair, unjustified and he was being made a scapegoat.

“Based on Trans-Peshawar technical expertise, premature arrival of buses and ITS equipment would lead to a number of financial operational and contractual issues for the country. If the buses and ITS equipment were procured before April 20, the government would already have been liable to pay a substantial amount of money to store and secure the buses and ITS equipment,” he said.

He had said that it will be still the case if the buses and ITS equipment arrive before April and May 20 as in trans-Peshawar assessment, the civil work will not be ready until early next year, in addition, the warranty will be voided as the buses would remain idle and untested for a long time, this will have immediate cost impact as the long-term operational and contractual issues. 

He said that in Trans-Peshawar operational modal buses are being supplied by the owner while the operation of the buses will be contracted out to a private vehicle operating company (VOC).

“To add to the complications our buses are equipped with diesel-electric hybrid technology which is completely new and not to be trusted in Pakistan. Due to this reason, it was important to delay the purchase of buses and also to test it after completion of the track. Otherwise, if the quality is compromised and issues arise with the performance of the buses, the vehicle operation company may not be able to meet their term and condition which could lead to a premature failure of the BRT,” he had said.

He said that despite the identification of all risks, trans-Peshawar was directed by the board of directors to meet the chief minister desired schedule. “The decision of BOD was based mainly on the repeated confirmation from DG PDA that all civil construction work will be completed by April 20 and later changed to May 20,” he said.