LAHORE, July 9: Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi has said approval to the project of Lahore Rapid Mass Transit Train has been granted and the ground-breaking ceremony will be held in September.

According to a handout, he was presiding over a meeting held to review the pace of work on the project at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Monday.

The chief minister said green line and orange line would be constructed in the first phase of the project which would cost $2.4 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. The Asian Development Bank would cooperate in the construction of the project.

He said it would not only solve traffic problem but also provide comfortable, low-cost, safe and rapid transport facility of international standard to the commuters. An autonomous body would be set up for the speedy implementation of the project.

The chief minister said the project would help promote tourism, expedite the process of social development and raise living standard of the people besides a positive impact on environment.

Mr Elahi said the green line and orange line of this project would be completed by 2011 and 2015, respectively. The reference design of orange line has also been approved.

He said 24-km-long blue line and 19-km-long purple line would be constructed in the second phase. The blue train would pass through Model Town and Gulberg while the purple train from Allama Iqbal Town, Cantonment and airport areas. The central interchange station of green and orange line would also be established besides linking these lines at ring road, railway station, airport and sports city.

He said the track would be 97km long which would include 27km green line of which 11.6km track would be underground while 15.4km would be overhead. Twelve underground and 10 overhead stations would be set up on it. Similarly, the orange line would also be 27km long of which 6.9km track would be underground while 20.2km overhead upon which six underground and 20 overhead stations would be established.

He said one unit of airconditioned train would have the seating capacity of 500 passengers. He said initially 227,000 people would benefit from green train and 245,000 from orange train.

Transport minister Mohyuddin Chishti, P&D chairman Salman Ghani and principal secretary to chief minister G M Sikandar also attended the meeting.