LAHORE  -   The Punjab government is unlikely to meet the May 20 deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete civil work on the Orange Line Metro Train project, The Nation has learnt.

Hearing the Orange Line case, the Supreme Court on April 19 set May 20 as the new deadline for completion of the project.

According to Hammad ul Hassan, project director at the Lahore Orange line Metro Train Project: “Ninety-four percent of civil work is complete and hopefully we will meet the deadline.” After completion of civil work, he said, mechanical and electrical work would be completed.

Contrary to the government’s claims about meeting the deadline, an official of the Lahore Development Authority said on condition of anonymity that civil as well as mechanical and engineering work on the Orange Line Metro Train project would be completed in August.

“The May 20 deadline will not be met because work will not be completed by that time,” the official said.

Punjab Mass Transit Authority General Manager (Operations) Muhammad Ozair Shah refused to confirm the Orange Line project would be completed by May 20. He said, “It is up to contractors and the government to plead for another extension at the next court hearing to complete civil work on the Orange Line Metro Train project.”

It is pertinent to mention here that a two-member bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice Gulzar Ahmad and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan took up the metro train case on April 19.

During the hearing, Justice Ahmed had expressed the hope that the project would be completed successfully within the given deadline (May 20).

During the hearing, he said the contractors could be removed or sent to prison if they don’t complete work on the metro train project within the deadline.  Construction work is in progress from Stabling Yard to Thokar Niaz Beg on Raiwind Road.

The 27km long metro track ought to be completed originally in 27 months, according to the Punjab Mass Transit Authority website, but construction work was delayed for 22 months due to legal hurdles.

 The Chinese management will supervise the train project for five years after it becomes operational. According to estimates, more than 250,000 commuters will use the metro train daily in the provincial metropolis.

The total cost of project is over $1.6 billion, according to the Punjab government website. This cost is competitive when compared to similar projects around the globe, the official website says.