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LAHORE: The long-awaited Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project initiated by the previous PML-N government under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) inaugurated by the PTI Punjab government here on Sunday.

The project was jointly inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Chinese Council General Long Ding Bin at Dera Gujran depot.

Provincial Transport Minister Jahanzeb Kachchi, Managing Director Punjab Mass Transit Authority Sabtain Fazal Haleem and C R Norinko authorities were also present on this occasion.

It is worth mentioning that inaugural ceremony of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train was also held in Beijing which was attended by Authorities of National Development Reforms Commission, C R Norinko and top brass Chinese officials. The ceremony was broadcast live through video link.

The Chief Minister along with Chinese Consul General formally inaugurated the Orange Line Metro train by pressing a button, whereas, Chinese officials also inaugurated Orange Line Metro Train from Beijing.

While addressing the inaugural ceremony chief minister thanked Chinese government on the behalf of the people and government of Punjab. The ties between both the countries are 6 decades old and have strengthened with the passage of time despite the notable changes on world scenario. He said that this project would not only ensure the stabilization in urban development but also become a factor in green GDP.

Undoubtedly, Pak-China friendship is deeper than the sea, sweeter than honey and stronger than steel, he added. He said that project of CPEC is the height of Pak-China friendship. The success of CPEC will start a new era of development and prosperity which will further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said that the PTI government set a new political tradition by successfully completing the projects of the previous governments and did not let any project become a victimization of politically biasness as projects like Wazirabad Cardiology Institute and the new building for the Punjab Assembly are an example of this political maturity.

He said that PTI government was also working on the completion of the collapsed projects of previous governments worth Rs 1115 billion. He said that in order to operate the Orange Line Metro Train project successfully, transparency has been ensured in the tendering of operational and maintenance besides saving nation’s billions of rupees.

He further added that the Punjab government, despite limited resources and the weak economic health due to Covid-19 pandemic, is also giving a subsidy of billions of rupees annually to ply the Orange Line train.

Buzdar said that he would also like to pay tribute to the Pak Army and other law enforcement agencies’ support and cooperation for the success of CPEC project. He said that numbers of CPEC projects are being successfully completed due to the sacrifices and day and night hard work of Pak Army and other law enforcement agencies. He invited China’s businesses organizations and companies to come together in the journey of progress and development. He said that there were vast opportunities of investment in Punjab in transport, livestock, agriculture, housing and other sectors.

He said that this ceremony was a milestone in Pak-China relations. He thanked the entire industrial chain of Chinese urban rail transit and relevant departments for their efforts to complete the project and for introducing the design, manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance in abroad.

Chinese Consul General Long Ding Bin while addressing the ceremony said that the Punjab government provided full support for the completion of the Orange Line Metro Train project. He congratulated Punjab and people of Pakistan. He said that this project is a milestone in the friendship between Pakistan and China. This is the first state-of-the-art rail project in Pakistan which was successfully launched. This project has given new dimension to Pak-China friendship as this project of CPEC is a best example of partnership between Pakistan and China.

Provincial Minister for Transport Jehanzeb congratulated Lahorites on the inauguration of the Orange Line Metro Train and said that PTI government has set a new political history by completing the project of former government with good faith. This train is environmental-friendly which will solve transportation problems as well in controlling smog. Relations between Pakistan and China would further strengthened under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jahanzeb added. He said that the subsidy of billions is required to ply this train but the government will make every possible effort to reduce the subsidy.

Officials of National Development Reform Commission of China in their address through a video link from Beijing said “Today one more project of CPEC was completed on which they congratulate the people of Pakistan and the Punjab government. Commercial operation of Orange Line Metro train is of great importance and it is a matter of great pleasure for them which were completed despite corona outbreak.

Managing Director Punjab Mass Transit Authority Sabteen Fazal Haleem in his briefing said that this project first of its kind in Pakistan and this project was included in the CPEC. The ceremony was attended by Provincial Ministers, Assembly Members, Chief Secretary, Inspector General of Police, officials of Chinese companies and other high ranking officers and former chairman CPEC projects, Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa (retd).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020