Mass Transit Project: Punjab government, Chinese company sign Memorandum of Understanding

LAHORE: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here today between Punjab government and Chinese international company NORINCO regarding Lahore mass transit project.

Under the agreement, a 27km long railway track will be laid from Gaju Matta on Ferozpur Road to Shahdara of which 7km long portion will be underground.

Chairman Lahore Transport Company Khwaja Ahmad Hasaan and Vice President NORINCO Zhang Shipping signed the document on behalf of Punjab government and China respectively.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Member Provincial Assembly Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmad, high-ups of Lahore Transport Company and representatives of NORINCO were also present on the occasion.

Talking to media on the occasion, the Chief Minister 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 as the Chinese company by announcing that it will not take even a single penny as profit proved that China is a true and sincere friend of Pakistan. He said that the project will be an invaluable gift by the Chinese government for the people of Lahore, the Punjab as well as the whole country.

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 Pakistan 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. Replying to the questions of media, he said that politicians and rulers have not come upto the expectations of the masses during the 63 year’s history of the country.

He said that while the elite have all the facilities at their doorstep, the poor and the common man 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 Daanish schools, Aashiayna housing project, supply of free medicines and mobile health units are such welfare-oriented projects of Punjab government which no one can rollback and if anyone tried to do so he will taken to task by the masses.

Vice President NORINCO, Zhang Shipping while speaking on the occasion, 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 will reflect Pak-China friendship and NORINCO will not take any profit from the project. He said that Chinese bank Exim will provide loan for the project. He said that he had held talks with Lahore Transport Company and other departments during last two weeks and have excellent working relationship with them.

He said that Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif 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 will also provide technology to Punjab in this regard. He 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.

Earlier, Vice President NORINCO and his delegation gave a briefing regarding Lahore mass transit project and highlighted its various aspects. Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif 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 mutual cooperation between Punjab and China and the project will prove to be a milestone in the strengthening of Pak-China friendship.

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