LAHORE: In a major setback to provincial government s much talked about Orange Line project, Lahore High Court has dismissed government’s NOCs over protection of historically significant installations and has ordered halt of construction within 200ft radius of such buildings, reported Friday.
A two-member bench issued the order comprising of 83 pages. The installations include 11 places including General Post Office, Shalimar Garden, Supreme Court Lahore Registry, Chauburji, Saint Andrews Church, mausoleum of Baba Mouj Darya and Aiwan-e-Auqaf.
The freshly released non-objection certificates of Punjab government in regard to protection of historically significant buildings were annulled by the court.
The court stated that the government did not consult authorities concerned over issuance of the NOCs. The court has ordered the government to set up an international level committee headed by Director General Archeology to put together fresh recommendations.
Meanwhile, the high court has dismissed all petitions calling for an end to project on basis of alleged environmental pollution.
The verdict today has come in on pleas that were filed on December 14 in the high court over concern regarding protection of historically pertinent installations.
A stay order was issued by the court on January 28 while the verdict was reserved on July 13.
Orange Line Train project is a move by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif-led government to connect parts of the province with fast tracked transit for commuters and visitors.
The project received a lot of flak from the opposition especially Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for allegedly neglecting the ‘real’ needs of the people and spending humongous amounts of budget on Orange Line project.
The project also came under scrutiny earlier after reports of alleged corruption and embezzlement surfaced. The government was accused of bias in the handing the contract and colluding with the contractor.
It should also be mentioned that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has also expressed concern over the route of the project.