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Govt orders audit of metro bus projects

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ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday formally ordered to carry out audit of all metro bus projects in the country, said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

Detailing about excessive expenditures on the mega projects, following a cabinet meeting in Islamabad, the minister said Lahore metrobus project was being run with an annual subsidy of Rs4.20 billion and Multan metro bus project was getting Rs2.1 billion annual subsidy from the government.

The multi-billion rupee metro bus projects were launched by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government countrywide except, Peshawar where PTI had its government.

The information minister said Multan metro bus project was built at the cost of Rs29 billion and rent on its buses was Rs54 million.

Furthermore, Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus project was constructed at the cost of Rs 45 billion, he added.

On the other hand, he said, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would not have to give subsidy for Peshawar metro bus project. “Peshawar bus project is built at the cost of Rs67bn. They have bought buses for this project while the Punjab government had hired buses on rent.”

He said it took Rs30 billion to complete the Orange Line Train project.

The minister said subsidy on any project should not be so excessive that your other economic system get hurt of it.

To a query, he said if the Punjab government could afford to run it with subsidy, it would go ahead, otherwise  the project would be scrapped.

Earlier in a statement, Fawad Chaudhry had said funds worth billions of rupees had been spent or announced, by the previous government, for different districts to build airports, motorways and other mega projects ignoring the basic needs like health, education and clean drinking water.

“Therefore, the cabinet has also decided to conduct a forensic audit of such projects and call in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for investigation if required.”

He had said the purpose for conducting forensic audit of mass transit projects was to evaluate if the public money was used appropriately. “We spent billions of rupees on metro bus projects and afterwards are paying billions of rupees to run them. This needs an audit that will be done across the board.”

He said the prime minister was keen about forensic audit of projects as he desired that facts were briskly revealed to the masses.

The minister said there was a chance of corruption as earlier billions of rupees were spent on those projects and the government had now to pay Rs 8 to 10 billion more to run them.

To a query, he said the government was not hiking tax on salaried class.

The minister said the government had given approval for the PTV Board of Governors and Chairman PTV Board of Governors would be the information minister.

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