LAHORE: Construction of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project will cause cutting down of 620 grown-up trees on its 27.1km long route from Dera Gujran to Ali Town.

The trees and herbs planned to be cut are of various kinds, including Arjun, Dhak, Mahwa, Bahara, Alstonia, Ashoke, Sheesham, Alata, Kenair, Weeping Willow, Peepal, Simbal, Berri, Sukh Chain and Poplar.

The project executing agency, Lahore Development Authority, has pledged planting 6,200 new saplings in place of the felled ones at various spots of the route and its surroundings, according to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report made by the LDA in association with the National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak).

Also read: ‘Environmental and economic sustainability’ of CPEC assured

The EIA report is to be discussed and shared under the environment laws with the people from various walks of life in a public hearing scheduled to be held by the LDA on June 30 at Alhamra Cultural Complex, Qadhafi Stadium.

The project to consume 74MW electricity as well

The report says the entire operation of metro trains, which will start at 7am and conclude at 10pm daily, will consume 74MW electricity that will be supplied by the Lahore Electricity Supply Company (Lesco). In this regard, the report mentions, two power substations, one at the UET (GT Road) and the other at Shahnoor (Multan Road) will be constructed to ensure uninterrupted operation of the trains—each having capacity of 1,000 passengers. The operation includes running of trains, signaling control, automated fare collection machines, offices, etc.

“At the starting and ending points, Dera Gujran and Ali Town, two depots have been planned to be established where various facilities, such as maintenance of trains, will be available. The design speed of the proposed train is 70km/hr but the scheduled speed will remain between 30-70 on the 27.1km long route that include 1.72km portion to be built underground and the rest as elevated.”

Among 26 total train stations of the Rs160.395bn project, two will be constructed underground (one will single storey and another two-storey with concourse on the ground).

The report terms the project area as falling in Seismic Zone 2A which represents peak ground acceleration from 0.08 to 0.16g that is a low to moderate damage zone. Land use of the project area is mainly commercial and residential with some educational, medical and recreational facilities. The report estimates Rs5.6m to be incurred on environment related costs, including Rs576,000 for environmental monitoring, Rs4m for tree plantation and Rs100,000 for environmental training.

The report indicates the project will require acquisition of land which will result in loss of infrastructure; commercial activities, disturbance to people and change in the land use.

“However, the compensation for the structures, plots, private and public properties, etc. would be done by the government as per law,” the report assures.

Published in Dawn June 26th, 2015

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