LAHORE: As much as 34 per cent of Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) civil works have been completed, The Express Tribune learnt on Thursday.
Adviser to Chief Minister Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan said construction activity in connection with the OLMT project was in full swing except where it had been stayed by court. Around 94 per cent of the pillars needed to support the train’s track have been erected, he said. Hassaan said a majority of the remaining pillars were situated across locales that were subject of litigation. He said work would be completed there once court verdicts had been handed down.
The chief minister’s adviser said initially 40 people had moved court against land acquisition for the project. He said most of these cases had been settled. Altogether, Hassaan said, only eight petitions were pending. He said most of the petitioners did not want to vacate their properties. “The government has already made its stance clear. It can negotiate a settlement but not halt a public welfare project,” he said. Hassaan said the petitions were expected to be disposed of over the next couple of hearings. He said the government had also been striving to allay court concerns regarding the project’s impact on heritage sites.
OLMT Package-I Contractor Habib Construction Services (HCS) CEO Shahid Saleem said ground civil works of Package-1 had been completed across a nine-kilometre area. The company has already removed steel fences from roads and finished base layering the affected pavements, he said. Saleem said asphalt layering was underway. He said the HCS was striving to layer the road between Dera Gujjaran and Cooperative Store before the monsoon. Saleem said the road between Boharwala Chowk and Hall Road would be restored later. He said this would remedy public, traffic, commercial and environmental woes.
The 27-kilometre-long project is estimated to cost around $1.65 billion with major funding coming in the form of a Chinese soft loan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2016.