Former Lahore Transport Company (LTC) chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassan on Saturday assured McLeod Road traders and residents of other areas along the route of the Orange Line Metro Train project that no government official would bother them with questions about land acquisition till a plan had been finalised.
He was speaking to the media after a meeting to review land acquisition for the project. Hassaan said all legal requirements for acquisition of land had been met in the 90-day period allowed under the law.
He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had directed the officials concerned to ensure that fair compensation was paid to all those whose properties were procured for the project. He said the impression that the government was carrying out land acquisition in haste was false.
Hassaan said strict instructions had been issued to the officials concerned that harassment of businesses and residents whose properties would be acquired for the project would not be tolerated. No government official were to approach the property owners before the land acquisition plan has been finalised, he said. “They will be informed about the compensation and the procedure for acquisition in advance,” he said. He said the government would take possession of the selected properties after paying compensation cheques to the owners.
Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) Chief Engineer Saidur Rehman, Orange Line Project Director Mazhar Khan, Nespak Chief Engineer Basit Ejaz and Land Acquisition Collector Khurram Mukhtar Bhangu were also present at the meeting.
The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) had earlier announced that around 1,165 kanals of land would be acquired for the construction of 26 train stations along the route, two of which would be underground (near Lakshmi Chowk and the General Post Office building). Another 731 kanals would be acquired for the establishment of a stabling yard, electric sub-stations and a depot.
Separately, Lahore Division Commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbal chaired a meeting to review arrangements for preservation of historical sites along the route.
He said the government had decided to obtain digital scans of all such sites. He said an experts’ report on the present state of the Chuburji monument, including its digital scans, were due for submission on January 12.
Other sites for which digital scans would be collected are Zaibun Nisa mausoleum, Budh ka awa, Gulabi Bagh, Dai Anga mausoleum and Hydraulic Tank (Shalimar Garden) to gather all information about these historic sites.
The commissioner said the city government was working in collaboration with the Auqaf Department for the preservation of Mauj Darya mausoleum, Saint Andrew’s Church and historic sites at Lakshmi Chowk.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2016.