By Sohail KhanDecember 02, 2016Print : National
Findings reveal Lahore’s historical places will be badly affected
ISLAMABAD: International technical experts have declared the Orange Line Train Project, Lahore a violation of Antiquities Act with findings that it will badly affect the city’s historical places.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, on October 13 constituted a two-member commission of technical experts from TYPSA – Asia Consulting Engineers (Pvt) Ltd and Professor Robin Cunningham, Unesco Professor in Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, UK.
The court had directed them to re-verify the credibility of the Nespak reports of July 2015 and February 2016.
In pursuance of the court’s direction, the two-member commission submitted a 20-page report to the apex court on Thursday, giving completely opposite findings on the Nespak reports regarding construction of Orange Line Metro Project.
According to the findings of Professor Robin, both the Nespak reports have significant failings and oversights in the context of Antiquities Act, 1975 and the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985.
The report found that the Nespak report of July 2015 failed to consider the effects of vibrations from viaduct piers on two additional potentially affected buildings. These include the surviving Mughal reservoir, which forms part of the Shalamar Gardens, protected by the Antiquities Act and Lakshmi Building, protected under the Ordinance, 1985.
It also observed that the Nespak’s July 2015 report failed to present a physical and technical evaluation of the stability of five potentially affected monuments nor of the results of any geo-technical data concerning the nature of the subsoil between the viaduct piers and monuments. It has strongly recommended that their failings be mitigated by the urgent commissioning of comprehensive and credible inter-disciplinary Heritage Impact Assessment.
It said the Lahore Orange Metro Train route clearly contravenes Clause 22 of the Antiquities Act, 1975 and Clause 11 of Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985 as its execution evidently represents a development scheme and involves new constructions with 200 feet of the five immovable antiquities, which protected under Act and the Ordinance. The project also contravenes Clause 23 of the Act as it is associated with the erection of poles to support its viaduct near the five immovable antiquities.
Likewise, TYPSA – Consulting Engineering and Architects found that Nespak reports seem to be very serious and complete from structural point of view. It is relevant with respect to safety and stability of buildings both during the construction stage and under train operation.
The approach adopted by Nespak is conservative that gives vibrations velocities higher that actual, says TYPSA. It submitted that the Nespak reports rightly conclude that the levels obtained by calculation will be within the permissible limits and there will be no adverse effect on any of these sites. According to TYPSA, reports of Nespak are compliant with the international codes and standards and the subject’s studies are comprehensive and complete with reference to the subject and the results are correct with acceptable limits.