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August 20, 2019

March 2020 new deadline for Orange Train operation


August 20, 2019

LAHORE:A new deadline of March 2020 has been given for the completion and operation of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) after all the deadlines ordered by the Supreme Court and initial deadline committed by the Punjab government with the Chinese companies.

The new deadline was set in a meeting of Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) on transport department here Monday, chaired by Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht while attended by Provincial Minister for Transport Jahanzab Khan Kitchi, Adviser to Chief Minister for Finance, Dr Salman Shah and head of SMU Fazel Asif and secretary transport.

The secretary transport briefed the meeting that the OLMT would be operational in ongoing financial year. On questioning when in this financial, the secretary responded by March 2020. Earlier, Supreme Court directed the Punjab government to complete the OLMT by May 2019. However, this deadline was also not met by the Punjab government.

Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht instructed transport department to complete work on OLMT besides chalking out passenger fare for a ride too. Further, he said the metro buses fare would be revised in accordance with the affordability of the users after the cabinet approval while stable model would be evolved for the fares for future so that same situation would not occur again.

Hashim Jawan Bakht said that previous Punjab government did not evolve a transportpolicy to control the linkages of resources from number of mega projects that were introduced during the last one decade and depending on the estimates only for transportation projects. Besides, it also did not introduce any policy mechanism, rules and regulations for the private transport sector for regularisation while the current government focused on evolving a proper transport policy for facilitating the general public, regularisation of private transport companies, commercialisation of general bus stands and automated tax collection system.

The minister chairing a review meeting of Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) of transport department here Monday instructed the department to provide all details of the route permits, number of buses, condition and capacity of these buses in accordance with road infrastructure to the SMU. Further, private transport companies should also be taken on board in evolving the rules and regulations for revenue collection. Additionally, bus routes should be expanded to the special economic zones and repairing and maintenance of the general bus stand should be completed through public private partnership model.

Secretary Transport informed the meeting that 16.47 million vehicles were registered in Punjab while 207,789 route permits were issued in 2017-18 which generated Rs475.6million revenue. Currently, Lahore, Multan, and Rawalpindi metro buses, Orange Line Metro Train, Lahore and Multan feeder buses, vehicle inspections and certification of axel load management are ongoing projects. Besides, modern bus terminal project is also underway.

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