Pakistan, Lahore Orange Line Project Receives Chinese Funding

Pakistan, Lahore Orange Line Project Receives Chinese Funding :On 21 December 2015, during a ceremony held at the Chief Minister’s Office, Federal Secretary for Economic Affairs Tariq Bajwa and Exim Bank of China Vice President Sun Ping signed an agreement for the provision of 162 billion rupees on soft terms for the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train (LOLMT) Project.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, who was chief guest at the ceremony, stated that the project is being implemented under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. Under CPEC China is making an investment of $46 billion in Pakistan, out of which $36 billion on energy projects.

Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal were present on the occasion, together with Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister Planning & Development Ahsan Iqbal, the Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Pakistani Ambassador in China Khalid Masood, Provincial Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Provincial Ministers, Assembly Members and the Chief Secretary. Prominent industrialists, bankers, intellectuals, columnists and senior officers of federal and provincial institutions were also present on the occasion.

Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that the occasion marked an important juncture in the friendship between China and Pakistan. He said it was a historic day for provision of a modern transport system in Pakistan and reminded that the project is the first of its kind in the country’s history. He further added that the project is also important because it will result in transfer of Chinese technology to Pakistan and creation of job opportunities.

Work on the project is already underway. It is currently expected to complete in 27 months, but the Punjab government is seeking to reduce this to 24 months.

More than 275 piles have been completed at the northern end of the route near Dera Gujjran, on which pillars for the elevated track will be raised. Consultants of the China Railways Engineering Consulting Group and the National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) are monitoring the structure work.

The 27.2 km long line, of which 25.4 elevated, will have 25 stations and will carry 250,000 passengers on a daily basis. It will connect Raiwind to Wahra Gujjran. Trains will run at 80 kph.

The project was initiated with a signed agreement between the governments of Pakistan and China in May 2014.
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Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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