Train project: Orange Line land acquisition stalls

Government had initially set a seven-day schedule


Imran Adnan March 31, 2016
Construction site of Orange Line Metro Train. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has not been able to procure all the land needed for the Orange Line Metro Train project due to litigation and familial disputes.

The government had initially fixed a seven-day deadline for land acquisition to be completed when the process kicked-off on February 1. Adviser to Chief Minister Khwaja Ahmad Hassaan revealed that land acquisition process had stalled at around 60 per cent courtesy sub judice cases, stay orders and intra-family disputes. He said property documents could not be authenticated in a bevy of cases and this had also impeded progress. The government earmarked Rs15 billion for relocation compensation but disbursement of funds was stuck at Rs7 billion, Hassaan said.

Orange Line Metro Train Project (Package One) Contractor Habib Construction Services (HCS) CEO Shahid Saleem revealed that though civil works on a major portion of the train’s track were in an advanced stage, construction had not been initiated on 30 per cent of Package One’s area in the vicinity of heritage sites as it had been stayed.

Saleem pointed out that though acquisition of land had been completed in most areas, the process had hit a roadblock and construction of stations had not been started.

Saleem emphasised that the timely completion of the project was contingent on the construction of two underground stations near The Mall on which work was yet to start.

While the elevated portion of the track was quickly coming together, he said, the entire project would hit a hurdle if the central underground portion remained where it was.

“We were expecting full access to the site over construction of the 1.7-kilometere underground track and stations by October-end but that has not happened,” Saleem said.

Over 30 per cent of Package One’s civil works have been completed and the company has set a target to open most roads along the track’s route for traffic by May, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.

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