LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has chalked out the plan to change the route of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train (LOMT) Project as per the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict which is now pending before the Supreme Court (SC), Pakistan Today has learnt.
To complete the LOMT Project, LDA will acquire more land for which it has demanded rupees 72 billion from Punjab government after which the cost of the project will reach up to 2.5 billion dollars.
Last year LHC, in its verdict ordered the Punjab government to stop the construction work of LOMT project within the 200 feet of the eleven historical buildings. Punjab government had filed the petition in SC against the LHC verdict. However, the SC is yet to announce its verdict. LHC in its verdict nullified all the no objection certificates (NOC), and revised NOCs which were obtained for the construction of OLMT. These buildings include: Chauburji, Saint Andrew Church, GPO building, Tomb of Zeb-un-Nisa, Supreme Court Registry Branch, Aiwan-e-Auqaf, Shalimar Gardens, Budhu ka Awa, Tomb of Baba Mauj Daria, Lakshmi Building , and Shah Chiragh Building.
This 27.1 KM long LOMT Project comprises of 25.4 KM elevated and 1.7 KM underground track with train stations. At the time of execution, an amount of 1.62 billion dollars was announced as the estimated cost of the project.
Sources privy to development told Pakistan Today that LDA decided to acquire more land in case Punjab government loses its case in the SC. Sources said that LDA has pointed out and marked the lands near Shalimar Garden which could be acquired for changing the route to keep the track 200 feet away from this historical site. “LDA also had marked the land to be acquired near ten other historical buildings for which it has competed its survey,” they said.
An official in LDA seeking anonymity told Pakistan Today that to change the route of the project and to acquire more land, the department has made a PC-1. He said that at least 51 kanal of more land would be required for changing the route of the project. “According to survey, at least 72 billion rupees would be require to acquire this land,” he said, informing that LDA had issued section 5 for land acquisition from Kotli Ghasi to Thokar Niaz Baig.
He further told that the process of acquiring land will be started very soon as a few months are left for deadline of the project. Replying to a question, he admitted that LDA might face resistance from the public during the land acquisition process.
When contacted, an LDA spokesman denied any decision was made regarding changing of route or requisition of any money for land acquisition.