All’s well that ends well

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Wajeeha Ahmad

Mega project like Orange Line Metro Train are the talk of the town nowadays. There is a small group of rich and privileged people who have come on the roads with a strategy against development projects like OLMT. They have been doing this in the past as well. Every time a mega project is initiated, they are seen on the roads holding placards and banners as mark of opposition under the garb of heritage protection.
The recent example is Signal Free Corridor Jail road and main Boulevard Gulberg. No one cares about the past as long as the outcome is positive. This 7-km long Signal Free Corridor project will be constructed from Qurtaba Chowk Jail Road to Liberty Roundabout Main Boulevard, Gulberg. Two underpasses and seven signal free U-turns will be constructed as part of this project. The first underpass has been constructed at Shadman Chowk for traffic coming from China Chowk and going to Shadman Market. It facilitates uninterrupted traffic flow coming from Mall Road to Shadman and vice versa. My university is on Jail Road so I can tell for sure that it has enabled uninterrupted signal free traffic flow all along Jail Road. The second underpass has been constructed near Sherpao Bridge for traffic going towards Canal Bridge.
Due to construction of underpass at Fawara Chowk crossing, there has been noticeable decrease in traffic congestion on Jail Road and Main Boulevard Gulberg.
I remember when Metro Bus Project was under construction, criticism was vehement and now the ridership has reached up to 2,20,000 passengers daily by this year alone. I have actually met many beneficiaries who claim that their lives have experiences a positive change. The laborers can go to work only in Rs. 20. These projects might not bring any change in the lives of rich gentry but they change the whole life of the poor. If the so-called elite opposes development projects, then it is equivalent to stopping the underprivileged from prospering in his life.
When motorway was announced, it received great criticism but the happiness that every Pakistani felt on its completion and feels today while travelling on motorway is priceless. The Motorways of Pakistan are a series of high-speed, limited-access or controlled-access highways in Pakistan. Motorway connects the provinces of the country comprising of M-1 (Islamabad To Peshawar), M-2 (Lahore to Islamabad) , M-3 (M-2 Road to Faisalabad), M-4 (Faisalabad to Multan), M-5 (D.G Khan to Multan), M-6 (D.G Khan to Ratodero), M-7 (Dadu to Dureji to Hub), M-8 (Ratodero to Gwadar) M-9 (Karachi to Hyderabad), M-10 (Karachi Northern Bypass) and Motorway Expressway Pakistan (Islamabad to Murree to Muzaffarabad). Out of these, 5 are operational, 2 are under construction while 4 have been planned by the government of Pakistan. Motorway Pakistan has shortened the distances and brought the hearts of people together. So travelling from one city to another is a way easy and more comfortable than before.
There are many other examples like this when public welfare won over all the ruthless criticism. Now is Orange Line Metro Train Project which is being brutally criticized by the privileged segment of the society. The opponents are making hue and cry which clearly shows the negative intentions. Despite knowing the benefits of the project, they are throwing spanners in its works on flimsy grounds for the sake of their vested interests.
A good public transport system is more of a necessity all over the world for the very reason of connecting people. It connects the people belonging to different walks of life regardless of their social status, religion, caste and creed and promotes harmony among them. The 27.1 kilometer long Orange Line Metro train is going to do the same by bridging the gap between the haves and have-nots.
Metro Train has been carefully designed to cater to the transportation needs of the disabled as they deserve to be treated as equal citizens. To reduce the hardships of the disabled, wheel chairs will be available at the metro stations free of cost. All station platforms are planned to be 102 meters long providing vast space for passengers to stay. The station platforms will also have screen doors for the safety of people with special needs. Moreover these stations will have escalators to ease the physically challenged people. They will be able to move independently like never before. The government of Punjab deserves appreciation for these steps and thus it will encourage special persons to participate in progress of the country as active members.
Among all those benefitting from this service, the students are going to make the most of this means of public transport. I earnestly believe that the OLMT will prove to be a safe ride for the students as some renowned educational institutions are situated along the route of the OLMT such as MAO College, Punjab University, UET and GC College etc. Talking on a global level, students around the world have long been introduced to the benefits of timeliness, feasibility and comfort that come with the benefits of using metro trains. I feel elated as a student and I can’t wait to be travelling my way to the University on a metro train.
The government of Punjab has taken the step forward by initiating a mega project like Orange Line Metro Train Project. I am sure that it’s going to be a pro-poor transportation service that would provide the people of Lahore an environment- friendly and modern means of transportation which will eventually decrease the pollution, other transport issues and severe traffic problems. It will also meet international standards and provide state of the art, honorable, comfortable and economical mode of transport for the women belonging to provincial capital of the biggest province. It will also resolve the problem faced by 52% of women of expensive fares with regard to public transport. The people of Lahore will be able to commute aboard Orange Line Metro in just rupees 20.
The women, students and the disabled are the most neglected segments of the society but this will ensure fulfillment of their rights. Only recently the Chief Minister of Punjab said as to why only the elite should benefit from the perks of having a respectable means of transport and why shouldn’t every common person not get such privileges? Likewise I have come across many people who are really excited about Orange Line Metro Train. When the developed countries have mass transit system, then why not Pakistan?
Let the well-being of the common people define the public policy. For long has this country served the interests of the elite. It is about time that commoners of the country are also treated at par and extended the same benefits that are available to the privileged few. An internally stable and harmonious Pakistan guarantees safety and security at the external level. OLMT is a futuristic project as it is harbinger of new dawn.