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January 10, 2019

Orange Line Train gift for Lahorites: CJ

Top Story

January 10, 2019

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Wednesday ordered contractors of Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) to finish work on the project by set dates, Geo News reported.

The chief justice remarked so during 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, counsel of a contractor, said the issue was regarding payment of work on the project.

Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) should deposit cheques with the apex court and the contractors could receive those cheques after providing bank guarantee. He ordered the contractors to finish the work by set dates in any case, saying that non-completion of work would be considered violation of court orders. Naeem Bokhari informed the court that a Chinese company would first finish interface work and then the local contractors would start working on the project.

During the hearing, 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, 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 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" said the king has left us in great debt for years. We just want to minimise the losses," he added.

"As many as Rs120 billion will be annually spent on the Orange line project during the next five years. The Punjab government will have to spend Rs10 billion per month," the minister claimed.

Meanwhile, Aleem Khan also apologised to journalists on behalf of the entire government on Punjab 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.

Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan Wednesday said a time frame should be fixed in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases and investigations and inquiries be completed in a 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 that his own (Aleem's) case had been under investigation in NAB since 2015. "I am facing 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 minister but enquiries are still lingering," he added.

The same is the situation in Imran Khan's case of use of helicopter in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said, adding that early decision should be made by the NAB authorities on the case of Imran Khan.

Aleem Khan said deadlines should be set for completion of enquiries against anyone.

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

He was of the view that spending Rs 300 billion on only one project was waste of public exchequer while the project was incomplete. He said the Orange Line Train was operational, it would cost around Rs 1,000 subsidy for each passenger which no government could afford for long time.

He Orange Line Train project would be completed by June or July 2019.

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

Talking about Basant, he said there was no such decision in this regard, however, the chief minister would give the official version about it.

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