LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) will not consult Pakistan Railways (PR) in implementing the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train project. It says the PR has no expertise in laying such rail track and running state-of-the-art metro trains.

The LDA is also of the view that it is not legally bound to consult the railways before or while implementing this Rs165 billion project.

According to LDA officials, two construction firms have been shortlisted for completing infrastructure-related work -- the 25.1km elevated concrete track and 2km underground portion (from Jain Mandir to Lakshmi Chowk) -- and other structural tasks such as platforms and depots/workshops. It is likely to award this component of the project to the firms within a couple of days.

LDA Chief Engineer Israr Saeed told Dawn on Tuesday two construction firms had won tenders after their bids remained lowest among the 18 who had participated in the process. Habib Construction offered Rs21.4 billion to complete Package-1 (Dera Gujaran to Chauburji). Maqbool Kolson submitted Rs18 billion to complete Package-2 from Chauburji to Ali Town, Raiwind Road via Multan Road and Thokar Niaz Baig, he added. These companies had also offered Rs8 billion to complete depots and other structures on the route.

The LDA official said purchase of modern trains, tracks, required electric/mechanical goods and bringing them to Lahore and then operating them would cost Rs95 billion.

“These tasks would be exclusively carried out by China Railway and Norinco. Rest of the funds will be spent on land acquisition, administrative work and environment-related activities. These would be done by authorities concerned in Lahore,” Saeed explained.

He further said the project would be launched and completed on Build, Operate and Transfer basis; China Railway and Norinco would be responsible for operations as well as receiving revenue for 25 years in order to recover the loan of Rs150 billion approved by the Chinese government.

He said the Punjab Metro Bus Authority had been renamed as Punjab Mass Transit Authority and it would be responsible for monitoring operations of the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train project.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2015

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