Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif conducted another tour of the Metro Bus Service construction site here on Sunday and reiterated to contractors that major infrastructure work must be finished by November 20.
The chief minister inspected sections of the project from Gajju Mata to Niazi Chowk, including a bus depot, parts of the elevated track, and the project site office. In interactions with officials, contractors and labourers, he emphasised that the work must be finished quickly.
Officials of the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) involved in the project told The Express Tribune that Sharif had urged them to return to the project site soon after the sacrifice of animals on Eid morning and get back to work. He had also suggested a sacrifice at the project site.
The Tepa officials said despite the chief minister’s insistence on the November 20 deadline, they did not expect the main infrastructure to be finished for another 50 days, until around December 10.
They said that work on the Model Town underpass was also going ahead at full steam. Two of four slabs that are to form the roof of the tunnel have been laid. The laying of the other two slabs will have to wait until Sui Northern Gas Pipelines moves some gas lines, they said, adding that SNGPL officials had pledged to do so before Eid. Once the roof is in place, work on the Metro Bus Service at ground level will continue. They said that the underpass would be finished by the end of December.
During his briefing and tour of the construction site at the start of the Metro Bus Service line in southeast Lahore, the chief minister said that work on an underground drain from Gajju Mata to Youhanabad should be finished as quickly as possible so work on the bus project can continue over the Eid holidays. He said special attention should be paid to the quality of construction material.
Inspecting the bus depot, Sharif instructed the project director and contractor to include a mosque in the depot building. He said that the shifting of electricity poles from various sections of the route of the bus service should be done as soon as possible. The chief minister visited the elevated sections of the bus route and directed that work should continue around the clock.
In an interaction with labourers, the chief minister made them promise that they would work over the Eid holidays. When they did so, he promised to buy them some sweets.
Later presiding over a meeting at the Metro Bus Service project site office at Niazi Chowk, Sharif said that construction work must not stop at any point. He said the transport of construction material for the project should continue in the daytime as well as at night. He said that officials should make plans in advance for the transport of construction material during the Eid holidays. He sought recommendations in this regard within two days.
He said that he recognised that the major construction project had caused various problems for citizens, who had been very patient so far. He said that public awareness of alternative traffic routes should be promoted through road signs and through the media. A system should be developed to give citizens warnings about traffic problems in advance and to inform them of alternative routes, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2012.