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Court seeks complete Orange Line record

Court seeks complete Orange Line record

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Monday directed the Punjab government to submit all PC-I (project charters) and complete record of the land acquired for the Orange Line Metro Train.

Earlier, Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman Khan stated in his conclusive arguments that Orange Line was a public welfare project and initiated after meeting all legal requirements.

Representing civil society and other petitioners, Advocate Azhar Siddique argued that the government presented before the court only one PC-I of the project whereas, he alleged, three PC-I were issued. He said the cost of the project was not Rs160 billion but more than Rs250bn.

He said the payments made against acquisition of public and private land by the government should also be included in the cost of the main project.

The bench comprising Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and Justice Shahid Karim directed the government to submit within a week record of all PC-I and land acquired for the project.

The bench adjourned hearing for Tuesday (today) with direction to petitioners’ counsel to come up with arguments on laws relating to protection of heritage sites. The bench had already stayed construction of the project within 200-foot radius of 11 heritage sites including Shalimar Garden, Chauburji, GPO building and shrine of Baba Mauj Darya.

The petitioners mainly stated that multi-billion project was not approved by Punjab Assembly. They said the project put heritage of the Lahore city at stake as 26 historical and protected monuments were going to lose their significance. They further said the government was utilising funds allocated for other sectors like education and health for the train project.

The petitioners pointed out that Unesco also opposed the project for being a serious threat to environment and other reasons.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2016

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