The Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operators voiced fears of the suspension of the bus service because of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s failure to clear dues worth over Rs.500 million. This would entail that at least 300,000 commuters in the provincial capital would suffer as they rely on this mode of transport on a daily basis. The cause for this delay is unclear, although the BRT expects it to be a political crisis. Regardless of whatever the cause is, something like this should not happen. Payment mechanisms for such integral facilities should be predetermined and the process should be carried out routinely, without additional interference.
According to BRT officials, Daewoo Pakistan as well as privately-owned LMK-Resources Pakistan had taken up the issue with the provincial government. As it stands, the government owes the companies over Rs.500 million that have not been paid in months. Invoices of February, March and April of 2023 amounts to Rs.450 million and so, they officially filed a complaint on May 23 and requested the caretaker Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan to clear dues as per the deal signed previously.
There is no doubt that the unpaid amount will cause a severe financial burden on the companies and should this situation get worse, there is a chance that the bus will have to suspend its operations either temporarily or permanently. This will mean that hundreds of thousands of people will be left without any mode of transport, and their routines will be impacted adversely. This can have large implications not only in their professional lives, but for routine home activities as well. And should this become a problem further, there is no way that the government will be able to handle the backlash by the people who are already suffering from an unstable political environment, struggling economy and deteriorating living standards. Payments must be paid in time not only for this time, but for the coming years as well.