LAHORE - Shopkeepers and owners of the restaurants along the Orange Line Metro Train route have shared their woes, just in time the construction work on the mega project is about to resume.

During a survey, people have been found unwilling to cooperate as the Punjab government are engaging them on “compromising terms”.

Misbah Khan, who originally hails from Bajur Agency, had come to Lahore five years ago along with his cousins. He runs a warm-cloth shop at Thokar Niaz Baig. “I hoped a lot of business this winter season, but all my hopes are vanished now. New Year is around the corner and no appreciable sale has been done,” Misbah told The Nation.

Each day is a challenge for Misbah Khan, who lives in hostel with his colleagues close to his shop.

As the construction work on Package-II of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train project from Chouburji to Ali Town has resumed after a break of three months, young Khan shared his ordeal: “We are not aware about the government’s plan to demolish our shops. The sales are not up to the mark this year as customers avoid coming at such places where a lot of dust is there.”

On January 28 this year, a division bench of Lahore High Court, headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, ordered the Punjab government to stop work in the radius of 200 feet of historical buildings. The historical buildings where the work was stopped included Lakshmi Building, Shalamar Garden, GPO Chowk, Aiwan-i-Auqaf, Shah Charagh Building, Supreme Court Registry, Saint Andrew Church, Baba Mauj Darya’s shrine, Ghulabi Bagh, Bhudhu ka Awa, Chauburji and Tomb of Zeb-un-Nisa. Since then, no construction activity has been observed at historical sites as per courts’ order.

Although, in the meantime, the government sprinkled water through its tankers along the Orange Line track, it was not enough for Misbah’s business.

“I have hired a special worker to clean the dust from our shops,” Misbah said.

A new contractor is coming with more machinery and work force. According to latest development, the Chinese contractor for Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project (LOMTP) CR-NORINCO has started manufacturing of track and sleepers for operating the train.

Khawaja Ahmad Hassan, chairman of the OLMT steering committee, also visited workshop at Raiwind Road yesterday and carried out an inspection.

In a statement, he said the Chinese engineers will start working at site from next month for executing their part of work.

The provincial government claims that metro train project is need of the hour as population of the provincial metropolis is increasing day by day and it demands a large-scale advanced transportation system to cater to the needs of the inhabitants.

Mudasir Ahmed, owner of a restaurant at Thokar Niaz Baig, lives with seven brothers in house at Niaz Biag society. “We have lived all over life here. This restaurant is my lifeline and I pay school fees of my children from restaurant earnings.

“The government is offering us compensation money but at the cost of demolishing my complete restaurant,” Mudasir told The Nation.

“If government offers million of rupees and asks me to shift my business to some other place, I will not accept it but only as a compromise.”

Ilyas, another restaurant owner at Thokar Niaz Baig, complained of being kept out of the loop. “We are not being conveyed when the front side of our restaurant will be demolished for the Orange Line project,” he said.