Honorable Supreme court of Pakistan has announce its reserved verdict on orange line metro train multi billion dollar project today. Several petitions were filed collectively by Punjab government, National Engineering Services Pakistan (NesPAK), Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Punjab Mass Transit Authority, and Civil Society Network against the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) judgement from Aug 19th 2016, to set the multi billion dollar project on partially halt as the construction was damaging the national heritage sites. LHC released a judgment against the project & didn’t permit perform any sort of construction work within 200 feet of the heritage sites in the provincial capital. According to LHC there are total of 11 sites in Lahore where construction work was stopped due to the possible damage to the site.
The Final Verdict in the Favor of Punjab Government
The final verdict on the orange line metro project from SC is in favor of Punjab Government and SC accepted the appeal of the government and cleared the path for orange line metro train project, whose work was on partly halt will be started and this project is set to complete by the start of next year. original date of completion of the project was Dec 25th 2017.
A five member bench of judges that includes Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had reserved its verdict in the case after hearing arguments of all the parties. A petition was filed against the project by Civil Society activist and an Architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz arguing that the heavy vibration from the construction work and as well as operation of the metro train project will damage the heritage sites which are of the national importanc and are governed by the constitutional & national legislation which includes Antiquity Act 1975, the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance 1985 and the Punjab Heritage Foundation Act 2005. All these 11 sites have been placed on the list of world heritage sites.
On the other hand Punjab Government argued that this multi billion dollar project has been started with the collaboration of a Chinese bank which also financed the project and in case of failure to complete the project Chinese contractors would be entitled to recover the losses and government would have to incur the losses in shape of cost escalation. The whole project has been projected on $1.6 billion, from which more than Rs 100 billion has been allocated to the project already.