INFRASTRUCTURE
LAHORE MASS TRANSIT PROJECT: SOFT LAUNCH ON AUGUST 14, 2011

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 18 - 24, 2011

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led Punjab Government is going to add another feather in its cap, as it is going to launch Soft Opening of the Lahore Mass Transit Project on 14th August 2011.

Lahore Mass Transit Project will be an invaluable gift by the Chinese government for the people of Lahore as well as the whole country. Chinese State Company-NORINCO has announced that it will not take even a single penny as profit from this project.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Lahore between Punjab government and Chinese international company NORINCO regarding Lahore Mass Transit Project.

Under the agreement, a 27-km long railway track will be laid from Gaju Matta on Ferozpur Road to Shahdra of which 7-km long portion will be underground. Chairman Lahore Transport Company Khawaja Ahmad Hasaan and Vice President NORINCO Zhang Shiping signed the document on behalf of Punjab government and China respectively.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif welcomed the agreement for Lahore Mass Transit Project with Chinese state company NORINCO and said that soft opening of the project will be made on 14th August 2011. He said that it is a unique project by the Chinese company as it will not take even a single penny as profit.

He said that there are deep-rooted relations between China and Pakistan and Pak-China friendship is higher than Himalayas, deeper than oceans and sweeter than honey. He said that China has stood by Pakistan in every hour of need and helped the country wholeheartedly. He said that friendship between the two countries is also reflected in the agreement signed with Chinese company NORINCO regarding Lahore mass transit project.

He said that NORINCO is a renowned Chinese company which has executed numerous projects of human development and prosperity and also set up metro systems. He said that thousands of people are benefiting from the mass transit projects executed by the company in Beijing, Shanghai and Tehran . He said that completion of Lahore mass transit project will not only provide modern transport facilities to the people of provincial metropolis but of the whole country and the project will be completed by working round-the-clock. He said that a number of agreements were signed between Punjab government and China for cooperation in various sectors during his visit to China which include the glorious project of Lahore mass transit.

Vice President NORINCO Zhang Shiping said that Pakistan and China are bound together in unswerving ties of friendship and Lahore mass transit project will usher in a new era of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He said that the project would reflect Pak-China friendship and NORINCO would not take any profit from the project. He said that Chinese Bank Exim will provide loan for the project.

Zhang said that he had held talks with Lahore Transport Company and other departments during last two weeks, and have excellent working relations with them. He said that Punjab Chief Minister has taken personal interest in the project which will result in provision of modern transport facilities to the masses. He said that Lahore Mass Transit Project will be completed in four years and Chinese company would provide technology to Punjab in this regard.

Zhang also said that Lahore Mass Transit Project is a precious gift by China for the people of Punjab which is being initiated as a result of lengthy negotiations with the dynamic and dignified leadership of Punjab.

The Punjab Chief Minister said that politicians and rulers have not come up to the expectations of the masses during the 63-year's history of the country. He said that while the elites have all the facilities at their doorstep, the poor and the common persons are deprived of even basic amenities.

He said that Punjab government has diverted resources to the welfare of the people and all available funds are being utilized in a transparent manner on the provision of basic facilities to the people. He said, "People have elected us and we are their servants and not the rulers and every penny of public money is being spent on the betterment and uplift of the masses in a highly transparent manner." He said that the country is facing terrorism and a number of other problems but the nation will come out of these crises and achieve the goal of national progress and prosperity.

Replying to a question about the possibility of rollback of welfare projects by the future governments, the Chief Minister said that Danish schools, Aashiayna housing project, supply of free medicines and mobile health units are such welfare-oriented projects of Punjab government which no one can roll back and if anyone tries to do so he will be taken to task by the masses.

Chief Minister said that provision of comfortable and reliable transport facilities to the masses is the priority of the government. He said that besides mass transit project, special attention is also being paid to the uplift of transport sector and substantial funds have been allocated for this purpose in the budget. He said that implementation of Lahore Mass Transit Project will open up new avenues of cooperation between Punjab and China and the project will prove a milestone in strengthening Pak-China friendship.