Lahore metro train: China prefers monitoring of its own

Published September 12, 2015
Piling work for Orange Line Metro Train Project is under way at Salamatpura near the Quaid-i-Azam Interchange. —White Star
Piling work for Orange Line Metro Train Project is under way at Salamatpura near the Quaid-i-Azam Interchange. —White Star

LAHORE: A joint venture of the China Railways (CR) and Norinko has informed the Lahore Development Authority that it will monitor the construction work (structure) to ensure international quality standards while executing the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project.

The CR-Norinko will soon send its own consultant firm to Lahore, Dawn learnt.

A major chunk (Rs150 billion, US $1.5 billion) of the Rs165 billion (US $1.65 billion) project will be provided by the Chinese government to Punjab under a soft-loan agreement. The Exim Bank of China is expected to start releasing loan money in a phased plan to the Punjab government in the next few days.

According to officials, the LDA will execute the project’s component related to civil work/structure work worth Rs50 billion (construction of over 25km elevated and 1.7km long underground portion of the metro track) whereas the remaining components such as laying rail track, mechanical, electric, bringing the state-of-the-art metro trains etc would be carried out by the Chinese joint venture.

Officials say the LDA had already hired services of Nespak as consultant of the structure but the CR-Norinko and others concerned (Chinese government) have asked the Pakistani authorities that they would have their own consultant to supervise the construction/civil works. “We have told the Chinese officials that we have already hired Nespak as consultant and started the construction work from Sept 10. But they have desired to appoint and send their own Chinese consultants to supervise the work,” LDA’s Chief Engineer Israr Saeed told Dawn on Friday.

Asked whether the Chinese officials expressed any doubts about quality of Pakistan’s pattern of construction, he said: “I don’t think so. Actually, they have their own construction standards. Though the construction standards being adopted in Pakistan are same as being followed in the Western, North American and Asian countries, they (the Chinese) want to have their own consultants. So, we have welcomed their decision, urging them to send consultants as soon as possible,” he said.

The official said the Punjab government had also sought time from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for inaugurating the construction work of the project.

While discussing various plans of the project’s structure works, Mr Khalid Alvi (Project Director of the Package-1 -- Salamatpura to Chauburji portion) said the contractor had started piling work on GT Road (Salamatpura) for the construction of elevated track. “The elevated portion of Package-1 will start from Salamatpura and will end just after an intersection situated around 300 meters away from the GPO Chowk. From this spot the underground portion of the project will start. And it will end near Chauburji (the PIA planetarium park). From this point there will be again an elevated track till Ali Town via Multan Road and Thokar,” he explained.

He said the underground portion would be constructed under cut and cover method and not through tunnel boring machines/technology. And the same would be 13 to 15 meter (45 to 50 feet) down the ground level, he said.

Mr Alvi said anyone could imagine that the underground portion would be like an underpass measuring 1.7km long. And the portion would have two train stations -- Anarkali (near Jain Mandir) and Central (Mall Road) stations.

He said before construction of the underground portion, the entire infrastructure (Wasa main sewerage and water supply pipelines, telephone, gas cables and pipes) would be removed and realigned so that no problem could occur during civil work. He said the land acquisition plan had already been finalised and the officials (land acquisition collectors etc) were working on it these days.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2015

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