Lahore              -          Following a long haul involving several impediments in completion of the project, the authorities on Friday eventually set a date to put the Metro train on track on March 23, a date which coincides with Pakistan Day.  

Decision to this effect was a taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa. Chairman P&D, Hamid Yaqoob Sheikh and other concerned officials attended the meeting.

General Asim reportedly stressed upon the government authorities to make the project operational on March 23 without any further delay. The meeting also decided that Chinese contractor should be asked to complete the remaining work at the earliest.

The decision comes at the heels of a recent decision by the Punjab government to review the operation and maintenance contract of the Metro train. The provincial law department is currently looking into legal aspects of the contract before taking a final decision on the matter.

It may be mentioned here that Metro train has already passed two test runs conducted in the last ix months.

Earlier, construction work on the Metro train project remained suspended for over one year during last tenure of the PML-N government. The LHC had ordered the Punjab government to stop the project as it passed through the historical sites. The court eventually allowed the government to complete the project after seeking guarantees about protection of the historical buildings. The project also faced procedural delays and hiccups at different stages of its completion.  

Chairman P&D, Hamid Yaqoob also briefed the meeting on the ongoing CPEC development projects underway in Punjab under the CPEC. He said work on all the mega projects was going on at a fast track.

Also, CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa called on Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office on Friday and discussed different matters including progress made on CPEC related projects. The issue of inordinate delay in the launch of Metro train project also came under discussion. 

Both agreed to expedite the pace of work on CPEC projects.

The chief minister told the CPEC authority chairman that instructions had been issued for early start of Orange Line train as it would help the commuters to benefit from the facility of urban transport. He reiterated that China was a very trustworthy friend of Pakistan and added that Chinese cooperation for the progress of Pakistan was praiseworthy. He emphasized that CPEC will boost up economic activities in the region to generate colossal job opportunities. “CPEC is a game-changer initiative which will pave the way for prosperity of the country. Completion of this wonderful project is a collective responsibility of all of us”, he observed.

Usman Buzdar also said that establishment of CPEC Authority was a good step of Prime Minister Imran Khan that would help speed up the CPEC projects. “CPEC is moving forward in the right direction under the incumbent government”, he said, adding that his government will continue to cooperate with the authority for early completion of CPEC projects in Punjab. The chief minister further stated that special economic zones were being established to promote investment and industrialization in the province. This project, he added, had been started in Faisalabad on an area spanning over thousands of acres. Buzdar hoped that investment to the tune of billions of dollars would be made in the province due to the establishment of these zones. He told the CPEC authority chairman that special incentives had been given to the investors and the government wanted to develop Punjab as a hub of trade and economic activities.