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April 20, 2019

SC directs completion of Orange Line project by May 20

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April 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday directed three construction companies to ensure by May 20, completion of construction work on the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT), a project expected to facilitate some 250,000 commuters every day in Lahore, the metropolitan city of Punjab.

A two member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) case. The project is part of the city metro network aimed at connecting Raiwind, Multan Road, Mcleod Road, Lahore Junction Railway Station and the Grand Trunk Road.

In January, the court had directed the Punjab government to ensure release of Rs1 billion for payment of the companies working on the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project.

On Friday, the court took a strong exception to delay of work on the project and ordered three construction companies to complete the project by May 20 and demanded a guarantee of Rs10 million each from the companies.

The court ruled that the guarantees will be forfeited if the companies failed to finish the project by May 20. During the course of hearing Justice Gulzar Ahmed expressed concern over the project’s current Director Fazal Haleem and said due to him the work has been delayed.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed said if the contractors do not work, fire them or put them in prison, adding that the project director is being blackmailed by the construction companies.

The court further directed that if Justice ® Zahid Hussain wants to continue as head of the technical committee then the provincial government should look into it otherwise Justice (R) Jamshed or Justice Abdul Sattar Asghar be made the head of the technical committee.

All the three construction companies give a guarantee of Rs1 billion and if the project was not completed by May 20, it will be confiscated”, Justice Gulzar said.

Naeem Bukhari counsel for one of the construction company however, submitted that his client cannot give a guarantee of Rs1 billion as he said that they have already given guarantee of Rs2 billion.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen another member of the bench observed that a huge amount has been spent on the project adding that the said project has been launched in the national interest.

“Is there any mechanism available for checking the quality of construction work of the project”, Justice Ahsen questioned. Project Director of the instant project however, informed the court that their consultants are supervising the construction work.

Later, the court adjourned further hearing for two weeks. In December 2017 a five-member bench of Supreme Court comprising Justice ® Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had announced the judgment after eight months on multi-million dollar train project.

The apex court had set aside the Lahore High Court verdict to halt construction of the OLMT and ordered the Punjab government to resume work on the project subject to certain conditions.

The bench had taken up identical petitions filed by the Punjab government, National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak), Punjab Mass Transit Authority, Lahore Development Authority and Civil Society Network against the Aug 19, 2016 LHC judgment suspending construction work on OLMT within 200 feet of 11 heritage sites in the provincial capital.

The apex court in its judgment had ordered the Punjab government to resume construction on the train project and complete it by the planned date.

The court had also directed the provincial government to form two technical committees to oversee technical aspects of the project.

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