LAHORE  -   The authorities will take at least three more months to get the Orange Line Metro Train Project ready for testing by Chinese contractors, The Nation has learnt.

After coming into power in July 2018, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Punjab government had announced it would complete the Orange Line Metro Train Project, which was initiated by the ruling party’s archrival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Punjab Mass Transit Authority General Manager (Operations) Ozair Shah has said: “Hundred percent of civil work on OLMT is complete and electrical and mechanical work will be completed in three more months.”

After the testing phase, he said, the operation and maintenance phase of the metro train would begin. “After three months, Chinese authorities will operate and maintain the project,” Shah said.

According to the sources, the O&M contract would be given to a Chinese company for more than 10 years.

According to an official of the Lahore Development Authority: “More than 95 percent of civil work is complete and contractors will complete mechanical and electrical work in three months.”

Sources said that mechanical and engineering work on the Orange Line Metro Train Project would be completed in August.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had given the Punjab government May 20 deadline to complete civil work on the project. The new date for metro train case hearing would be set soon.

It is pertinent to mention here that a two-member bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice Gulzar Ahmad and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan took up the metro train case on April 19. During the hearing, Justice Ahmed had expressed the hope that civil work on the project would be completed by May 20.

The metro train, which has a 27.1km long route, is brainchild of the PML-N and work on it was initiated in 2013. Construction work on the project was initiated October 2015. The project was supposed to complete originally in 27 months, according to the Punjab Mass Transit Authority website, but construction work was delayed for 22 months due to legal hurdles. There are 26 stations (24 elevated and two Cut and Cover stations). According to estimates, around 250,000 commuters will use the metro train daily in the city.

The route of the Metro Train covers Raiwind Road, Multan Road, Lake Road/Edward Roard/Ustad Allah Bakhsh Road, McLeod Road, Nicholson Road, Railway Lines (Bohar Wala Chowk to Sultanpura) and Grand Trunk Road (GT Road).

Two segments of OLMT have most number of stations. The first one is Thokar Niaz Beg to Chauburji, which passes from Raiwind Road to Multan Road and includes Canal View, Hanjarwal, Wahdat Road, Awan Town,  Sabzazar,  Shahnoor, Salahudin Road,  Bund Road, Samanabad,  Gulshan-e-Ravi and Chauburgi stations.

The other segment of OLMT, Sultanpura (Coop Store) to Dera Gujran, has eight stations -- UET, Baghbanpura, Shalamar Garden, Pakistan Mint, Mahmood Booti, Salamatpura, Islam Park and Dera Gujran.

The total cost of the project is over $1.6 billion, according to the Punjab government website.