Since 2018, we have been hearing that the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project is on the brink of being inaugurated.  In May 2018, Punjab Chief Minister of the time Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the first test-run of the project and it looked like the citizens of Lahore would have their new public transport system before the elections. Yet nearly a year has passed since that promise, and lo and behold, there is no sign of any inauguration occurring any time soon.

It appears that our citizens, who have few public transport options to choose from, are not the only ones exasperated by the slow progress of this project that cost a lot of taxpayers money. The Supreme Court of Pakistan also took notice, when on Friday a two-member bench ordered three construction companies involved in the OLMT Project to submit guarantees of Rs10 million each, and warned them that if the project wasn’t completed by May 20, they would lose possession of their guarantees.

The Orange Line Metro Train project was supposed to be a dream which would grant Pakistanis access to a 21st century updated public transport system. Yet since 2014, when the project was announced, it has seen many stumbles- including a Lahore High Court case on environmental concerns. What has been frustrating is that the project has already gone overboard on its budget, with the Government of Punjab bearing the additional millions of rupees of cost, and still, we do not see a feasible result.

In order to prevent any additional costs, and to stop this situation from becoming a lose-lose one, the government needs to ensure the construction companies complete their job and the project is inaugurated quickly. We do not want another BRT Peshawar on our hands.