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CJP concerned over delay in Orange Line train project
By Tariq Butt August 26, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Saqib Nisar has expressed his deep concerns over delay in construction of the Orange Line train project in Lahore and sought timeframe from the contractors for its completion.

He told contractors to submit an affidavit detailing a timeframe for completion of the project within three days.

“Lahorites have had to put up with great inconvenience due to the Orange Line project. Now they should not bear any more hardships,” the top judge said.

“We need to now free Lahorites of these difficulties. We won’t let any contractor disappear without completing projects.”

He also asked the Punjab’s finance secretary to clarify details regarding non-payment of dues to contractors. He advised the Punjab government’s counsel to consult the chief minister if necessary. “We must get these projects completed, come what may.”

Seeking progress reports from the Punjab chief secretary and other authorities, a three-member bench, led by Justice Nisar, heard the case regarding contracts of mega projects awarded to only few companies. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were other members of the bench.

Justice Bandial observed that the cost of the project would increase if it was further delayed. The chief justice said huge public money was involved in the project and it could not be left unattended. He directed the government to resolve monetary issues of the contractors and also work on war footing for the approval of revised plan of the project.

He was stunned to hear that two of the last cheques, issued to a company by the government, were dishonoured by the banks. How could government’s cheques bounce, he questioned.

Answering his query, the chief engineer of the project said that the cheques were dishonoured because certain payments were withheld for the adjustment of advance payment made to the contractors.

The representatives of the contractor companies told the court that 98 per cent work had been completed at package-I of the project, 65 per cent at package-II, 90 per cent at package III and VI.

The Habib Constructions told the court that 90 per cent of work assigned to them had been accomplished while the rest including laying of train track would be done by a Chinese company.

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