LAHORE - Pakistan on Thursday signed an agreement with China for the first ever metro train project in the country. The 27.1-kilometer-long elevated track – named Orange Line – will be built at the cost of $1.27 billion in Lahore. The agreement was signed in Shanghai during a meeting on the sidelines of the fourth summit of “Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia”.Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif signed the framework agreement on behalf of Pakistan government, while China’s National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Xu-Shaoshi signed on behalf of his country. Chinese President Mr Xi Jiping and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain were also present on the occasion.Terming the agreement historic, Shahbaz Sharif said that it was a day of great rejoicing for the people of Pakistan. He said that metro train project would prove to be a landmark in the history of the country as it would provide modern travelling facilities to the general public, besides bringing about a revolution in the transport system.The chief minister said Chinese government will invest in this project and Chinese companies will design, construct and monitor it, whereas Punjab Government would provide all necessary facilities in this regard. He said the government of the PML-N is taking revolutionary steps, in coordination with friendly countries, for the provision of better travelling facilities and welfare of the masses.CM Shahbaz said that Orange Line Metro Train Project is part of government agenda to serve the masses, which would be expeditiously completed within the stipulated period, while a high standard of construction, speed and transparency will also be maintained. He said as metro bus project is being expanded to other cities after Lahore, metro train would also be expanded to other cities. He said “we are highly grateful to China” and its leadership for the assistance in development projects.The Punjab chief minister said Orange Line would initially facilitate an estimated 250,000 passengers a day, while this number would go up to 500,000 a day by the year 2025. The route of the metro train would be from Thokar Niaz Baig to Chauburgy via Multan Road, to Mall Road, Laxmi Chowk, Railway Station, Garhi Shaho Bridge, GT Road, Pakistan Mint, up to Dera Gujran. Almost whole length of the 27.1 km track, precisely 25.4 km, will be elevated. The construction work would start in the current year and be completed within a period of 27 months.Earlier addressing a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chinese President Xi Jiping, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif said that eradication of poverty is highly essential to eliminate extremism and “we can defeat terrorism and extremism with the weapons of education, progress and prosperity”, in cooperation with China.Talking to the media at Lahore airport upon his return from China on Thursday, Shahbaz said that his visit has been highly successful. He said that agreement for metro train project for the people of Pakistan was a great achievement of his visit. He said the train project is unique in the history of the country and Pakistan will be made a developed and prosperous country with the cooperation of friendly countries. He said that he will never forget the love and affection shown to him in China.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 23-May-2014 here.