LAHORE – The ongoing 32-km long Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) is likely to go behind the schedule because of repeated changes in design of different sections of the project by the Punjab government, sources informed TheNation on Sunday.

The officials of department concerned confused to go ahead in taking any decision because they had to stop the work on some of the sections whenever they received new directions from the government high-ups with a modified design of the plan,” they added.

“Such confusing decisions of the government are the main hurdle in timely completion of the project, which as per the tall claims of the government and the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) is likely to be completed and inaugurated by the end of October,” the sources added.

However, a project director Mazhar Khan said while talking to this scribe that the Tepa would succeed in erecting the structure of the entire project by the end of October. He further claimed that in case of failure in meeting the deadline, the Tepa would achieve the target by the end of November this year.

Recently, the government had directed the department concerned to dig out the Main Ferozpur Road and the service lanes from Model Town Morre for the construction of an underpass for the residents of the Model Town Society.

“For this purpose, the departments concerned have to dig out the newly-constructed Main Ferozpur Road, which is not only causing massive nuisance for the motorists but also is becoming permanent source of traffic jams because of closure of substitute routs including the service lanes,” the sources added.

On the other hand, the provincial government failed to decide that which body or authority would run the Metro Bus System after the completion of the project. Moreover, the government even could not start paper work for this purpose, the sources further added.

“However, a proposal is pending with the government to run the Metro Bus System in partnership with public private sectors so that such system can be made profitable,” they informed.

They said the buses for plying on the route were procured by the provincial transport department which would be handed over to the proposed public-private based body.    

The major portion of the BRTS, built in the centre of Ferozpur Road from Gajumata (Kahna) to Shahdara at a cost of over Rs32 billion, had been divided into six packages as per the rules of the federal government under which provincial governments have to get approval for launching such projects worth Rs 10 billion.

“However, the work on package-1 extending from Kahna to Kalma Chowk (10.1 km) has already been completed,” sources in the Tepa said. As per the plan, the work on package-2 starting from Kalma Chowk to Qartaba Chowk (4.9 km) was being carried out by the same construction company, he added.

Similarly, the packages three and four comprising 4.1km elevated lane from Qartaba Chowk to Data Darbar was also underway; while the work on the remaining packages had also been started, the sources informed.

An official said the Old Ravi Bridge would serve as the BRTS lane for package five and would be closed for general traffic.

Some officials said they were deciding what land purchases would be necessary for the BRTS route. They said a huge amount was required for land purchase for packages two, three and four; and they also witnessed protests in some cases.

A Tepa planning director said it was a good idea to start work on the entire project simultaneously. “It will help finishing the project in the shortest possible time,” he said.