A section of the Kalma Chowk flyover will be completed by July 25, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced on Friday. He said the remaining part too will be completed by August 14, making it the fastest structure of the kind to have been completed in the country.
Project Director Sabir Khan, however, said he was only committed to the August 14 deadline for the project when the project was scheduled to be inaugurated by the chief minister.
Pressed on the July 25 completion date mentioned by the chief minister while talking to the media, he said while the structure had been completed, ‘finishing touches’ remained to be applied. This, he said, included surfacing of the pavement, lane markings, installation of reflectors and placement of flower pots etc. “By August 14, we will have finished not only these things but also completed the other section.”
He said 50 per cent of the deck slabs were already in place on the second section.
He said neither the chief minister nor anybody from the CM Secretariat had taken him into confidence about bringing forward the deadline.
A senior Transport Department official, seeking anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the subject, told The Express Tribune the northen section would be completed by July 25 and the southern section by August 8. He said the practice so far had been to open such projects for traffic as soon as they were complete without waiting for any ceremony.
LRMT MoU signed
Construction work on the Lahore Mass Transit Train project will begin on August 14, Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif said on Friday. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Punjab government and a Chinese company, NORINCO, in this regard on Friday. Of the 27-kilometre (km) railway track from Gajju Matta on Ferozepur Road to Shahdara, about 7 km will be underground.
Khawaja Ahmad Hasaan, the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) chairperson signed the agreement on behalf of the city government. The chief minister and MPA Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmad were also present.
The chief minister said that a feasibility report for the project had put the cost at $2.4 billion.
However, it will now be completed at a cost of $1.7 billion after the Chinese company agreed to forgo profit.
Zhang Shiping, the Norinco vice president, reiterated that the company will not profit from the project.
He also said that Chinese Ex Im bank will provide a foreign exchange loan for the project. Shiping said that the project will be completed in four years for which technology will be provided to the Punjab government.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.
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