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Orange Line Train gift for Lahorites: CJP

Top Story

January 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar on Wednesday ordered the contractors of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) to finish work on the project in accordance with the schedule, the Geo News reported.

The chief justice made the remarks during the hearing of a case pertaining to the project by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by him. During the hearing, Naeem Bokhari, the counsel of a contractor, said the issue is about the payment of work on the project. The Chief Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that the Lahore Development Authority should deposit cheques with the apex court and the contractors could receive them after providing bank guarantees. He ordered the contractors to finish the work by set dates in any case, saying non-completion of work would be considered a violation of the court orders.

Bokhari informed the court that a Chinese company would first finish the interface work and then the local contractors would start working on the project. During the hearing, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar termed the project a "gift" for the people of Lahore. "Let us know the day the train becomes functional and we will also travel on it," he said. The chief justice in his remarks praised Project Director Fazal Sibtain for his services, saying, "We thank him." The hearing of the case was later adjourned until January 16.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Minister of Punjab for Local Government Aleem Khan confirmed on Wednesday that the Orange Line project will be completed in June-July 2019. Speaking to the press, the senior minister denied the rumours that the PTI provincial government had a desire to scrap the project. "We won't close the project. As many as Rs300 billion have already been spent on the project so it could not be scrapped now," Aleem said. "Calling Nawaz Sharif "King" Aleem said the king has left us in a great debt for years. We just want to minimise the losses," he added. "As many as Rs120 billion will be spent annually on the Orange Line Project during the next five years. The Punjab government will have to spend Rs10 billion per month," the minister claimed. He said once the Orange Train gets operational, it would cost a subsidy of around Rs 1,000 for each passenger which no government could afford for a long time.

Meanwhile, Aleem Khan also apologised to journalists on behalf of the Punjab government for Information Minister Fayazul Hasan Chohan's "uncanny" remarks. "Chohan is young, perhaps that's why he got angry. I don't like such tone and that's why I have apologized," Aleem said.

The Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said a time frame should be fixed in the National Accountability Bureau cases and investigations and inquiries be completed in the given time, otherwise, the cases would linger on and a media trial of the accused would continue. Responding to a question regarding Federal Information Minister Fawad Choudhry's remarks on NAB regarding the helicopter case against Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said his own (Aleem's) case is under investigation in NAB since 2015. "I am facing a media trial on the NAB case. Whenever the issue of NAB cases is discussed in the media, I am asked about that," he said. "There is not a single audit para against me as a minister but inquiries are still lingering on," he added. The same is the situation with Imran Khan's case for using helicopter in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said, adding an early decision should be made by the NAB authorities in the case of Imran Khan. Aleem Khan said deadlines should be set for completion of inquiries against anyone.

The minister said the issue of standing committees in Punjab Assembly would be resolved within days and it is high time that the parliamentarians act together and worked for the mandate given to them by the public. He said the role of the opposition is very important in any democratic system and both the government and the opposition must accept each others' importance and give space to work for the issues of the common man. He said the people have high hopes from Imran Khan and time has come for PTI to honour the good proposals even from the opposition benches and show practical performance.

To a query, Aleem Khan said, unfortunately, there is no planning for solid waste management projects in Punjab and especially 80 per cent area of villages were badly ignored as no system of solid waste collection ever developed there. He said recycling plants are being established in collaboration with the foreign companies to process solid waste for production of gases, fertilisers and electricity.

Talking about Basant, he said there is no decision about it, however, the chief minister would give an official version about it.

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