LAHORE  -  The Orange Line Metro Train project is likely to be completed till end of next month as contractors have speeded up the work on the multi-billion project amid fresh warning of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

“We issued direction to contractors to increase the workforce on under construction sites. Hopefully project will become operational till end of September,” said a high official directly monitoring the execution work on  the  27.1km (cut and cover section: 1.72km, elevated: 25.4km) long track. He, however, was not ready to be mentioned in the story.

Different deadlines were set for the completion of project during last year by the previous government. But, the government, now, officially avoid to set another deadline.

Work on the project started in October 2015 though the Punjab government’s agreement, according to some reports, for provision of loan with the Chinese bank was signed on Dec 21. Since the project has to complete in 27 months, the deadline already crossed more than six months.

Chief Justice of Pakistan on Saturday expressed concern over delay in completion of OLMT project and issued direction to Punjab chief secretary to submit progress reports. CJP Mian Saqib Nisar observed thousands of people had suffered a lot due to the construction work of the project. Saying the court could not see them in pain anymore, he directed the project should now be completed in hours, instead of days. The CJP was heading a three-judge bench seized with a case regarding contracts of mega projects awarded to a group of same companies. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were other members of the bench.

The official said that almost 90 percent work on all four packages was completed and it took not more than one month to complete the remaining work.  There are reports that the government will have to pay damages of Rs51 million (per day) to the Chinese government if it fails to complete the projects till end of this year.

It is worth to note here that former Punjab government wanted to complete the project before end of its tenure but it failed to achieve this milestone, though former Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated the trial run of the train in May.

Official said the work on laying track on package II and some mechanical and electric work on different stations was in progress while civil work had almost completed.