As the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) is about to start operations next month, nearly 2,000 new jobs will be created in the provincial capital.
Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMTA) General Manager Syed Uzair Shah told The Express Tribune that a total of around 2,000 people will get jobs before the commercial launch of the project. The authority will hire 41 employees, while the OLMT contractors will induct the remaining.
Since the entire operation of the country’s first metro train is based on the outsourcing model, most of the employees will be hired in the private sector by the contractors. The Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) will hire some 600 workers for janitorial services, a private security contractor will induct around 500 guards, while the IT and ticketing service provider will recruit 400 employees.
The official highlighted that the Chinese-led operation and maintenance (O&M) consortium Norinco Guangzhou Daewoo will induct around 400 employees for commercial operations of the metro train project.
Responding to a question, he said the authority and all partners had set the target to make the project operational by October 25. All efforts are being made to meet the deadline. Some contractors have already initiated the recruitment process to fill the new positions and others will follow suit during the coming month.
The testing and commissioning process of the metro train project has been completed. Now the O&M contractors are about to initiate an integrated testing, which will continue for a month before the metro train opens gates for passengers.
Earlier this year, China’s Guangzhou Metro Group, Norinco International and Daewoo Pakistan Express Bus Service constituted a consortium and secured the O&M contract of the OLMT project for an eight-year term. It is the first rail transit project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in which Chinese technology, equipment and standards are being used.
Both Chinese and Pakistani contractors were making preparations to initiate commercial operation, which was earlier scheduled in June, when the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in Wuhan, China and entangled the entire world. The pandemic spread like wildfire and forced governments to impose travel restrictions across the globe. Entry and movement of Chinese engineers and workers remained restricted for around three months, which delayed the launch process.
Later, the Chinese contractors announced successful completion of electrical and mechanical (E&M) works following acceptance from the PMTA and NESPAK in July.
The OLMT is part of the city metro network. The construction work started on October 25, 2015. The PML-N government had aimed to complete the project before the 2018 general elections but it failed to achieve the target owing to prolonged litigation and stay orders.
The project has a total length of 27.12 kilometres, out of which 25.4km track is elevated and 1.72km underground to protect historical places. The OLMT has 26 stations -- 24 at the height of 12 metres and two underground. The number of trains is 27 and each train has five bogies that are 20 metres long with 60 seats. Separate seats are allocated for women, senior citizens and people with special needs. A public address system is installed for the convenience of the passengers. The doors of the electric train are automatic and doors are also installed at the platforms to ensure safety of the passengers.
This train will run at 80km per hour and complete the 27km distance from Ali Town to Dera Gujran in 45 minutes. It will pass through the congested areas of the city where more than 250,000 passengers travel daily. Official documents highlight that within the next few years, the metro train will facilitate 500,000 passengers daily.
The service will connect Raiwind, Multan Road, Mcleod Road, Lahore Junction Railway Station and the Grand Trunk Road. It will be the first line of the Lahore Metro, which is country’s first mass rapid transit train system.
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