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Saturday Sep 21 2019

Punjab drops plan to connect Orange Line train with metro bus, railway station

Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government has dropped plans to connect the under-construction Orange Line Metro Train System to the Metro Bus Station and the Railway Station in Lahore. 

The government of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also decided not to build a passenger transit system from the Anarkali area to the MAO college of the provincial capital.

According to The News, the decision was taken due to the escalating cost of the project, which has already ballooned by at least fifty percent due to delays in construction and unresolved court cases. 

The suspension of development work on this mega project has cost Rs11 billion to the national exchequer, officials in Punjab Mass Transit Authority reveal. 

The estimated initial cost of the project was Rs22 billion, but has now increased to Rs30 billion. An additional Rs3 billion has also been allocated for the construction of footpaths for this project. 

The Orange Line has two components — the China Pakistan Economic Corridor component and a local component. The first component is funded by China, while the second by the Punjab government. 

The estimated cost of first component is unchanged at $1.458 billion. The entire funding for the CPEC component has been provided by the Chinese government. 

However, the estimated premium cost of the local component, which has to be funded by the government of Punjab, has escalated from Rs22 billion to Rs33 billion.

In order to cut the project's expenditure, the sitting Punjab government has slashed some components of the project but even then the cost has escalated by 50 percent. 

As per the PC-1 of the project, the Punjab government had to install a 0.4 kilometer long Walkalator from Lahore Railway Station to Metro Bus Station for connecting the two junctions with Orange Line station. 

However, the PTI government has dropped this from the masterplan. Similarly, a passenger transfer section was to be built between Anarkali and MAO but the present government has slashed that plan too.

The Punjab Mass Transit Authority officials claim the escalation in price of the local component in the project is not because of construction delays, as the civil works on the system have been completed in time. 

The delay in completion of this project was because of court cases, some issues on the part of Parks and Horticulture Authority Punjab, the Special Protection Unit, and some other reasons, the officials claim.

According to transit authorities, 96.5 percent work on Orange Line Metro Project has been completed and the present government can decide when it wants to complete the remaining part and inaugurate the project.

Originally published in The News