Metro Train becomes a pain in Punjab govt's neck

By: News Desk      Published: 08:56 PM, 18 Feb, 2020
Metro Train becomes a pain in Punjab govt's neck
A policeman stands guard as Chinese staff sit during the unveiling ceremony of the first set of carriages of the metro.–AFP file photo

The Orange Line Metro Train has become a bone in the throat of the Punjab government and even the provincial cabinet has refused to decide affairs of the urban transport project based in Lahore.

At a meeting of the Punjab Cabinet, it was decided that fare for people commuting by the train would be decided by the Punjab Assembly. The matter of train fare came up for discussion in the very beginning of the session and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar suggested Rs40 fare per person. A cabinet member declared the metro train a white elephant and said that credit would go to the PML-N even if the project is launched. A key cabinet member from southern Punjab asked, what is his area’s fault? He said that funds, which would be spent on the metro train in the name of subsidy, should be diverted to southern Punjab.

Not even a single cabinet member spoke in favour of subsidy on the metro train project. The finance and transport departments were already against the suggestion to give subsidy on the project, while the Punjab chief minister was in favour of charging Rs40 per commuter. When the cabinet members united on the issue, the chief minister had to review his decision.

According to the sources, the finance department was of the view that the government would have to give Rs10 billion subsidy per month even if the metro train fare is set at Rs50 per person. And even if the government does not give subsidy on the project, it would cost the government dear under some other heads. Finally, the cabinet decided to table the fare issue in the provincial assembly.

Orange Line is an automated rapid transit system and it will be Pakistan's first metro once it opens in 2020. The Orange Line is the first of the three rail lines proposed for the Lahore Metro. The line will span 27.1 km with 25.4 km elevated and 1.72 km underground route.