LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) will acquire over 1,150 kanals of private and state land across select areas in the vicinity of the Orange Line Metro Train project’s route.
The move will impact dozens of residential and commercial properties along the route of the project. LDA Chief Engineer Israr Saeed told The Express Tribune that the authority had managed to go around almost every monument and heritage site including Shalimar Gardens, Chauburji, General Post Office (GPO) and a mausoleum on Grand Trunk Road.
He said the land acquisition process would be completed in a month’s time.
Saeed said over 700 kanals would be needed to house a depot, a stabling yard and an electric substation. He said the remaining land was needed for other facilities.
Project Contractor Shahid Saleem told The Express Tribune that the project would not affect the GPO as the train would cross The Mall on an underground track.
Saleem said a part of the building’s boundary wall would be razed while the project was being constructed.
He said the wall would be rebuilt after construction had been completed. .
Similarly, he said, Shalimar Gardens had been saved by ensuring that the project’s track would be built on the other side of the road. Saleem said a building in front of the gardens would be affected by the project. He said a few government properties including assistant commissioner’s office in Shalimar Town would be demolished.
Responding to a question, Saleem said the impression that the LDA had revised the alignment of the project was erroneous.
He said the contractor or the authority could not alter the alignment of the project. “A metro train needs a certain radius or curve to ensure that it operates smoothly. It’s not akin to the route of the metro bus that can be changed according to need,” he said.
Saleem said the design of the stations had been slightly revised, however. He said this would not have any impact on the project’s cost. “The length of the stations has been increased and their width has been reduced. Every station will have two storeys.
The first floor will house public facilities such as ticketing booths, food courts, shops and washrooms while the platform will be built on the other level,” he said.
The 27-kilometre-long project is expected to cost $1.65 billion. A large part of the project is being financed through a loan from a Chinese bank. A consortium of Chinese firms is collaborating with the Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMTA), the LDA and other public agencies to complete the project.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.