Peshawar BRT at danger of closing since operators aren’t paid Rs. 500 million

Officials informed Dawn that the privately-owned LMK-Resources Pakistan, which is in charge of the intelligent transportation system, fare collecting, and station administration, as well as BRT operator Daewoo Pakistan had raised the problem with the province government for prompt resolution.

They claimed that the state government owed both businesses more than Rs 500 million.

The government-owned TransPeshawar, which owned the BRT, had the necessary cash on hand, according to the authorities, but “political interference” in its business dealings was to reason for the payment delay.

According to officials, TransPeshawar has money to pay its debts and more is on the way.

Shahid Khan Khattak, the interim transport minister, admitted ignorance of the situation.

He advised this reporter to speak with the additional chief secretary, whose purview the fund problem falls within.

According to the records made accessible to Dawn, Daewoo spoke with TransPeshawar about the debt on April 27 and May 17.

On May 23, the firm officially asked interim Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan to get the corporation to pay its debts.

“This petition is being initiated to draw your kind attention towards an alarming issue, which if not urgently resolved, may adversely affect the interest of people of Peshawar,” it stated. “More than 300,000 people will be deprived of transportation service, affecting their livelihood and domestic activities.”

The firm claimed that the provincial government was required to issue payments against monthly bills within 10 days of each month in accordance with the terms and conditions of the relevant agreements with TransPeshawar.

The statement said, “However, in violation of agreements and despite numerous demands and reminders, our invoices have not been cleared and at this time there is an approximate Rs450 million balance due on invoices from February, March, and April 2023.”

Daewoo said that despite expressing grave concerns to the appropriate authorities on April 27 and May 17, no reaction has been received as of yet.

The TransPeshawar’s chief secretary and CEO were also on our agenda for talks. The problem, however, has not been resolved,” it said.

The business noted that while TransPeshawar had the necessary money on hand, the payment to them was being unreasonably delayed.

According to the statement, “The project requires significant injection of funds for payment of procurement of diesel, lubricants, and parts in addition to payment in lieu of electricity and salary expenses which can only be met if timely payment as per contract are disbursed.”

The firm also said that the non-payment of Rs. 450 million was placing a heavy financial strain on them, and if this persisted, they feared that they wouldn’t be able to run the service for want of money, which may negatively impact the project.

“With the above in mind, I kindly ask for your compassion in resolving the matter of past due payments in order to guarantee the projects’ efficient running. Please ask the officer in question to quickly make any outstanding payments, it stated.

The BRT operator sent a further letter on May 17 to the CEO of TransPeshawar warning that if outstanding payments were not made, the bus service will be suspended starting on May 23.

In a letter to the CEO of TransPeshawar, LMK-Resources Pakistan stated that over 1,800 staff members had been deployed to the BRT system. These staff members included those in charge of running the ITS, automated fare collection and bus scheduling system, station management, data center, control center, and other auxiliary centers, as well as subcontractor staff in charge of ticket sales, customer service, security, and cleaning services.

The bulk of its subcontractor employees, it said, were paid the minimum wage.

According to the contract, the firm was supposed to make its monthly payment by the 15th of each month for the month before, but it had been experiencing unheard-of delays.

“We have expressed our worries to the TransPeshawar and asked that it address them. Up until this point, we have been able to control the financial strain on our end and guarantee prompt payment to our subcontractors, avoiding any service interruptions. But maintaining things is becoming harder and harder,” it claimed.

However, according to reports, the TransPeshawar had hundreds of millions of rupees available, and it was also in the process of requesting more money.

They claimed that the purpose of the payment delays was to either renegotiate or issue a new BRT contract.

According to the sources, the CEO of TransPeshawar wrote to the provincial authorities to tell them of the “pressures exerted on him.”

The CEO received several phone calls and texts, but didn’t reply to any of them.

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