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SC can add conditions to monitor Orange Line Metro Train

06 April, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it can add conditions to monitor the ongoing construction work of Orange Line Metro Train. "There is nothing to stop us, we can add conditions," Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said.

Justice Maqbool Baqir questioned appellants about making the monitoring process statutory.

Tentative in nature, but the salient observation came when Khawaja Haris, counsel for the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), tried to satisfy the court arguing that the No Objection Certificate (NOC) was subject to monitoring.

The larger bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan is hearing the appeals filed by various departments of Punjab in which the government had challenged the Lahore High Court's (LHC) verdict restraining the construction work within 200 feet of heritage sites.

During the hearing, the bench asked Haris whether the vibration impact on buildings was measured during the soil assessment.

He said the practice had not been exercised rather the calculation was done, adding that the Chinese method would be adopted to absorb the vibration shocks besides the German technology for mitigating the vibration. He said that the track was 3.72 meters away from the Supreme Court Registry in Lahore, adding that the acceleration and velocity of train would be mitigated when passing by the heritage sites.

Justice Saeed asked if the judges sitting in court rooms would feel the passage of the train in terms of sound and vibration. LDA counsel said that it would not be felt to those sitting inside courtroom, adding that human comfort was not compromised.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan cautioned to ensure that the judges won't be sitting in rattling courtrooms.

The larger bench was shown video footage of the ongoing construction work. Shahid Hamid, representing NESPAK, the consultant firm, said the passengers would be able to view the historic Shalimar Gardens. Hamid said the project was cheaper than the Peshawar metro project.

On April 4, respondents' lawyer Azhar Siddique told the court that UNESCO's reactive monitoring team wanted to visit Pakistan for inspecting the would-be damage to heritage sites due to the project but the government was not granting visas. Justice Ejaz had said the court could not wait for a foreign team. "But we want to safeguard the sites," argued Azhar.

Punjab Mass Transit Authority lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan had told the court that vibration from train would not cause any damage to the infrastructure in general and heritage sites in particular.

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