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#TransPeshawar – The Difference

Finally, when approaching to the end of her 1st term, KP govt is going to start her own shiny & visible project – TransPeshawar. Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit System is supposed to be operational near the election time. Very significantly KP Govt has spent so for its all efforts mainly towards institutional development. FAFEEN legislative tracker has reported that KP Assembly has passed the highest number of bills, 33, on Institutional reforms theme followed by Local Government & Good Governance theme with 17 bills. With regard to investing public monies, KP Govt is spending initially a good amount on Health & Education sector where public satisfaction is visible through their direct feedback in various TV shows conducted on ground among residents.

CM KP, Pervaiz Khattak recently has chaired a meeting and directed to complete the construction tendering process by end of April 2017. Construction is supposed to go in 3 packages simultaneously. FWO has already started working on utilities & service roads realignment to adjust with new TransPeshawar corridor. TransPeshawar is unique with other 3 BRT Metros in Pakistan in terms they way its to operate. Lahore/Multan & Rwalpindi Metros have a fixed corridor length and “air-conditioned” buses operate within that particular length. In contrast to that, TransPeshawar is designed for 8 different routes with an accumulated route length of 175Km and serving 131 bus stops along these 8 routes. TransPeshawar will serve 31 bus stops on-corridor and 100 new bus stops off-corridor. Other metros in Pakistan pick & drop the passengers from bus stops on the specialized corridor only whereas TransPeshawar is designed to pick & drop the passengers both on & off-corridor. 7 routes will operate as off-on-off-corridor sequence which will increase the utility of specialized corridor. Only 1 route will operate purely on-corridor just like other Metros in Pakistan. On Average all 57% route length of these routes will be on-corridor and 47% off-corridor. This arrangement significantly improves the utilization of the specialized corridor.

Multan Metro bus has started its operations with 35 buses  , with 68 for RWP/Islamabad and Lahore metro started with 45 buses. TransPeshawar is aiming to operate 383  buses of nearly same configuration as of Multan/Lahore on 8 routes throughout the city. The specialized corridor will have controlled entry and exit points for its 7 routes that will operate as off-on-off corridor. All 31 bus stops on-corridor are designed to provide park & ride facility. Bikers can park their bicycles on the station and take the bus to their destination. Similarly park & ride facility is provided for car drivers as well. There are 3 park & ride facilities each with a car parking capacity of 72, 90 & 100 cars and these facilities are located Hayatabad, Chmkani and Dabgari Garden. While its worth appreciating to provide park & ride facility to encourage the public transportation over private cars, more important is our attitudes. Can we prefer public transport over private? Will this affect our reputation in society? Other measures like increasing parking fee in areas near to on-corridor bus stops may help to some extent. However preference of TransPeshawar usage is directly proportional to the riding quality & efficiency & reliability of same. The graph below can give you an idea about how much of a route length will be served by the specialized corridor and how much of it will be off the corridor.

TransPeshawar ,

TransPeshawar, in addition to the infrastructure directly assisting for operations, will also be developing commercial chops to stream in a parallel revenue stream. Scattered to various location along the corridor, it will be developing 1100 shops for rental purposes. The affected vendors, shop owners affected by this project were consulted and they are keen in getting formal business spaces developed under this project as a settlement for their loss.  A key stake holder in development of this project is private public transport operator. PDA is presently in negotiations with private operators to chalk out the plan to accommodate their workforce and assets. TransPeshawar plan to employee the workforce currently engaged in transport business on priority to minimize their risk. Old buses may continue to operate in other areas of the city or to other cities. Other stake holders especially the households affected by this project have been consulted already and a livelihood resettlement plan has been prepared to compensate them.

Both Punjab & KP govts have different allocations and I also couldn’t find the cost estimates of various components of the Punjab MRTs. Further also TransPeshawar is different in its infrastructure, so in my opinion an eye-to-eye comparison based on cost for this will neither be a logical nor fair. The table below however can give you a good idea on why both Govts have different allocations. As u go down to compare, take note that Islamabad metro cost is reported to be Rs. 44.8 billion and KP has estimated of Rs 57 billion.

The key source of all this information is EIA Report’s Chapter 3: Description of the Project

A presentation before PDWP shows some deviation from the above report. This presentation reduces the BRT corridor length from 27.5 Km to 26Km and increase the off-corridor bus stops totaling 180. It also increased the initial bus fleet from 380 buses to 450 buses.

This post has been updated on 31-3-2017 and will continue to update this blog once new information is available.

 

Public Monies & Disclosure

Govts being custodian of the public monies are entrusted and expected to spend the monies in an efficient and transparent manner ensuring level playing field for all the market players who intend to engage in business with Govt entities. Govt shall proactively disclose the information about its engagement in matters involving spending of public money. Public procurement rules aim to ensure that govt engages contractors in a level playing manner. Right to information laws have been enacted to grant access to such information even if the public officers are reluctant to proactive public disclosures.

Recently there was a report that KP Govt purchased medicine at prices more than 50% lower than that of the Punjab Govt. The conclusion was drawn by Punjab Pharmacists Association after a comparison of purchase prices of Punjab & KP. I tried to find the approved rates of the medicines purchased (or selected to purchase) in bulk by Punjab & KP Govts from respective health department websites to have a more closer look in the difference. I could find only technical evaluation of the selected medicine by the Punjab govt whereas KP Health Department has uploaded the final price list for each product & the provider.

Based on the information available on KP website, any person can select a particular medicine type, note the price paid by govt and can check the selling price at his nearest pharmacy shop to compare if Govt is paying more for the same medicine or less. Providing easy access to the correct information in matters involving public money  and having ability to independently verify the market value attracts more accountability and scrutiny to the govt spending. I strongly suggest readers to have a self-test and check the prices against the given rates of govt in market. Active engagement of citizens to audit & verify govt data will keep the govt to continue and focus the provision of correct info. In similar manner Punjab’s School data is made public and that portal developed by PITB invites public to contest their data. Such an exercise increases the credibility of the govt data and public trust in state institutions.

Another program by KP Health Department involving massive amounts of public money was initiated as “Sehat Insaf Card” under “Sehat sahulat program” with aim to provide free health service to low income households. This program is now covering all districts of KP and nearly 51% of the KP population will be able to have free treatment in any registered hospital through KP. Some districts have received cards while distribution is in progress in other districts and is expected to complete by end march.

Govt has released massive amount of information on http://www.sehatsahulat.com.pk/ about this program. Given the nature and quantity of information, there is great opportunity for public health and data scientists to carry out their research. Data is available for each registered household with the union council address and is searchable by district. I suggest this search ability be further brought down to the level of Tehsil and Union council for a quick search verification of a beneficiary. Card Nos and Contact numbers with village names are also provided for each beneficiary of the scheme. While there might be an abuse of such data yet there is an opportunity to verify if card have been distributed to real and well deserved people or just to dead people and on political preferences. In Pakistan we often have observed dead people come for votes and people get salaries form govt while working abroad. So here is an opportunity for people to verify if govt is providing correct data or fabricated data.

There are summary reports available for total visits and admissions for each district by gender type and case related like surgical, delivery, C-Section etc. This website provides reports for each health facility under this program where you can find the number of patients for any given period of time by four different age groups, gender, disease type, length of stay in hospital, bed occupancy in the facility, types of procedure performed on them, cost of a procedure and total income of a health facility under this program.

The insurance provider, on same website, provides reports for each district giving the coverage of patients by gender type, age group, admissions by treatment and facility type (Govt vs Pvt) and finally the treatment costs claimed by public facilities and private facilities.  Such a comparative report, publically available, will be an important tool in public to put a pressure on public health facilities to improve their quality and service against private facilities within same districts. It is important that how health department will be using these reports as a matter of accountability for its district health staff esp when there will be a clear comparison of govt & pvt facilities available.

As these 2 projects involve a big chunk of public money, it is appreciated that the department has made all these information public proactively and has attracted more scrutiny. Likewise, govt can earn more public trust if its other departments also proactively disclose more and more info and ensure that correct and update info are released to public.