Orange Line gets SC’s nod

IN a welcome development, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has given ‘go ahead’ signal to the Punjab Government to complete the Orange Line Metro Train project in the provincial capital, Lahore. The court, with a majority judgement of four to one endorsed and approved the NOCs and permission letters issued by the competent authorities and the recommendations of experts relating to execution, mitigation and remedial measures required to be adopted by the executing agency. The judgement, however, requires the executing agencies to meet certain conditions.
With this final hurdle in the way of completion of this important project stands removed and we hope the Punjab Government, under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, would move on fast pace to ensure its completion within the next few weeks. The Chief Minister is known for executing huge developmental projects within stipulated timeframe but deadline of December 25, 2017 is going to be missed in the case of Orange Line due to suspension of work on several portions due to court intervention. The court has done well to assuage apprehensions – be they genuine or politically motivated – about this project as it has given comprehensive guidelines to the Punjab Government to ensure there is no damage or harm to the archaeological sites. Both Punjab Government and technical experts were fully convinced that execution of Orange Line would, in no way, badly affect these sites but vested interests, who have always been scary of the developmental agenda of the Punjab Government tried to create hurdles on different pretexts. They used both media and judiciary to carry forward their nefarious designs and it is satisfying that the Supreme Court has poured cold water on their designs. We believe that the Court should have also penalized those who created obstacles in the way of implementation of a project the objective of which was nothing but facilitation of the general public. Some NGOs and individuals have closed their eyes to the activities of timber and real estate mafias that have wiped out big chunks of forest lands but make hue and cry when a new road or rail project is initiated or work on expansion of the existing ones gets underway. There should be no politics over development and on the pretext of environment or history.

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