Lahore Metro: An ancient city with more than 11 million inhabitants, Lahore is at a critical moment in its growth. Long known for its gardens, tree lined boulevards, parks and historic buildings, the city needs to update its infrastructure and quality of urban services. Transport demands alone are increasing and in 2006 had reached 13.5 million daily passenger trips by all modes of transport. Planning for Lahore’s metro network began in the 1990’s. In 2005, JICA (Japan Inernational Cooperation Agency conducted a 2-year feasibility study to develop an integrated mass transit network made up of primarily of 4 transit corridors, these lines are the spine of the Lahore Metro Mass Transit Plan and are:

GREEN LINE: 27km long. Gajju Matha to Shahdara. Originally a train with 15.5km elevated and 11.5km underground, and projected daily ridership of 380,000commuters. However, it has been built as all elevated Bus line with an estimated daily ridership ranging from 70,000 – 180,000commuters. Impact: The elevated bus line has blocked open views of historical sites such as Data Darbar, Badshahi Mosque Government College & Gamay Shah etc. made pedestrian crossings more dangerous, caused traffic congestion and adversely affected the environment leading to amplified traffic noise, trapped pollution particles as well as property devaluation. PURPLE LINE: 19km long. Data Darbar to Ghazi Road. Includes Lakshmi Chowk, Punjab Assembly, Avari Hotel, WAPDA House, Lawrence Hall, Governor’s House, Aitchison College, Mall of Lahore, Airport. Possible Impact: Loss of historic vegetation on Mall Road, from High Court to Mian Mir Bridge. Compromised security at sensitive points like the Airport, Corps Commander House, Governor’s House etc. BLUE LINE: 24km long. Chauburji to Eden Avenue. Includes Miani Sahib Graveyard, Lahore College, Kinnaird College, Services Hospital, Allama Iqbal Medical College, Barkat Market.

ORANGE LINE REVISED: The total length is 27.1km with 1.7km semi-underground (Using Cut & Cover methodology) and 25.4km elevated viaduct, rather than 7km underground as originally proposed. Impact: Structurally imperils buildings such as Chauburji, visually impairs others like Gulabi Bagh, removes historic communities such as Kapurthala House, Parachute Colony etc. from their neighborhoods. Desecrates Shrines and Minority Sites of Worship such as Mauj Darya & St. Andrews Church Nabha Road. Capacity: 250,000 daily commuters or 10,416 persons/hr. ORIGINALLY this line had a 20km elevated section, and 7km long underground section from Chauburji to Sultanpura  in twin bored tunnels. Impact: Minimal projected impact on ground.

Signatory Government Bodies: NESPAK  prepared the PC-1. Which is then checked by Punjab Metrobus Authority and approved by Secretary HUD & PHE, Secretary Transport, and Chairman P&D. Official Stated Cost: PKR185B  ($1.75B) (source?) Lahore Metro cost per Km = $61.9million. Jakarta MRT cost per Km = $7.5million. Source: Transport Development in Asian Megacities, Shigeru Morichi, Surya Raj Acharya editors, Springer Books, 2013)

ORANGE LINE METRO TRAIN PROJECT COSTS: Total costs for the Orange Line do not include Land Acquisition, Repair and reconstruction of Public Buildings and Amenity Plots. Relocation costs of existing urban services like, water, sewerage, electricity etc. Projected losses from loss of international tourism. Stabilization costs of existing buildings near Cut and Cover section. Interest on increasing Debt: The Chinese Loan is PKR169B ($1.6B) at an interest rate of 3% per annum to be paid in 20years. The Chinese company NORINCO will provide Rolling Stock (trains, signals etc.) for PKR106B ($1B). Civil works will be done by local contractors for PKR63.6B ($0.6B). All payments to parties will be made by the Chinese directly. Interest alone on this loan in the 1st year is PKR5.5B to be paid back in 20years.

Land acquisition: Along the route for stations, track, and related infrastructures land is being acquired from schools, hospitals/clinics, site of religious worship as well as shops, homes and public amenity plots as well seizing viable space from thousands of street hawkers and vendors. Estimates for total land required range from 900Kanals (as per the Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] Report for the Project to 1600K [As per Media reports]. The PC1 for the Project does not mention this cost head or propose a viable resettlement/ compensation formula nor includes this head into the total cost for the Project. The cost of temporary displacement or permanent loss of livelihood, has similarly not been included in the Project EIA. Effected parties include thousands of small shops that may be classified officially as encroachments but are nonetheless supporting large subsistence level dependents per shop and contributing heavily to the local economy. The affected businesses include plazas in busy squares such as Chauburji Chowk,  shops in Jain Mandir, Lakshmi, Shalimar etc. These businesses have multiple workers & small entrepreneurs who may not be able to recover from the impact on their running businesses.

Mass community displacement. Direct increase in poverty and poverty related death: Tens of thousands of people on or below the poverty line are being told to vacate their homes. Many are residents since partition. Many are part of vulnerable interdependent communities. They will be forced out of the city, or taken to the city’s edge away from schools, hospitals and places of work. Impacts on women and children E.g. Karputhala House, Jain Mandir, Bengali Building, Parachute Colony… etc. The population density here is 8968- 31,132 per sq km, largely children aged 5-14.

Environment:  The effects of Climate Change and the Urban Heat Island effect can increase temperatures in Lahore over 3.8 -9 degrees Fahrenheit. The Heat Island effect is measured as heat trapped in built surfaces radiates back into the atmosphere raising ambient atmospheric temperatures. The loss of trees and paved surfaces contributes directly to this heat gain. Expansive hard surfaces, reduction in green areas, the cutting of 1000s mature trees as well as the impact of the chosen technologies in transport infrastructure development taken thus far will amplify the effects of climate change. The viaduct structure (technologies used) will in themselves amplify pollution effects and cause temperatures to rise and act as “heat radiators” coursing through the city. This in turn will place an added demand for energy in the summer.

Health: The Impact on human health because of increased heat and increased pollutants, both in short and long terms has not been fully assessed. The Karachi Heat wave of 2015 and the unprecedented loss of life that followed is an example of the impact of rising temperatures, and lack of consideration of a tangible change in global climate and heat patterns. The creation of air tunnels under the elevated expressways increases staying time of pollutants like Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide and particulate matter like Lead. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and World Health Organization designate airborne particulates a Group 1 carcinogen. Particulates are the deadliest form of air pollution that penetrate deep into lungs and blood streams unfiltered, causing permanent DNA mutations, heart attacks, and premature death. In 2013, a study involving 312,944 people in 9 European countries revealed that there was no safe level of particulates and that for every increase of 10 μg/m3 in PM10, the lung cancer rate rose 22%. The smaller PM2.5 were particularly deadly, with a 36% increase in lung cancer per 10 μg/m3. Lahore’s particulate matter index is extremely high as per the World Health Organization. Elevated viaducts such as those for the Lahore Metro System will only trap this particulate matter further and result in adverse impacts on human health.

Heritage: At least 25 listed and protected sites on the route such as Shalimar Gardens, Chauburji, Lakshmi building, Mauj Darya Shrine will be impacted or forever lost due to the project. International and national laws safeguarding built heritage such as the World Heritage Convention, National Antiquities Act, Punjab Special Premises Ordinance have been violated or made ineffectual. The stabilization and underpinning of existing building foundations for safety near the Cut and Cover section of the Orange Line has not been considered nor been brought into the total project cost. The environment of several key Mughal monuments will forever be altered and the track and stations will block their open views.

Homelessness: A Violation of protocols defined in the Land Acquisition Act, and a failure to develop and declare due compensation and timely payment schedules will render thousands homeless if fair and timely payments are not made to effected persons. The Orange Line passes through some of the densely populated areas in the city with 9,000-31,000persons/square kilometer. Kapurthala House in Anarkali alone has a total of 2,700 registered voters with an average of 8 family members per household.

Destruction of Community Public Services: Communities along the length of the route are losing several amenities such as graveyards, schools, mosques, Imambargahs, post offices, hospitals, clinics. The Institute for Disabled Children, which serves 200 families in the Jain Mandir area is losing a significant portion of its property.

Governance & Due Process Issues:  As listed above, the PC-1 omits several costs which if considered render the project non-viable. A strategy for bearing further costs which are above and over the PKR162B loan payment still remains to be made public. The 2007 Systra Transport Study recommended using Tunnel technology at locations with heritage sites and densely populated neighborhoods so that surface damage may be contained. But the cheaper Cut & Cover technology being used for the Orange Metro Line destroys the surface and anything on it permanently. The Elevated Track will range in height from 26ft (or = 2 storey) – 59ft (or = 6 storey building) and will allow 250,000commuters a peep straight into properties compromising viability, property value, and privacy. The EIA report for the Project does not factor this loss of privacy or property value into account. The Project began on officially on the 25th of October but the loan agreement was signed on the 21st of December 2015. The urgency to Civil Works have already started, and the Punjab Government has provided bridge finance through Bank of Punjab of PKR6B to contractors of civil works, a loan guaranteed by the Punjab Government.

On ground, effected communities have not been taken into confidence and in a violation of the Land Acquisition Act effected parties have not been served any notification which denies them the right to go to court. Currently effected parties are only finding out about acquisition only when surveyors come to make markings on their properties.

The GOPb is currently in violation of the Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, Land Acquisition Act 1894, Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997, The Convention for the Protection of World Natural and Cultural Heritage 1972, and the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 which safeguards the Right to Life as well as the Right to Worship of Pakistani citizens, among others. The precedents once established will set the tone for governance for the future. By further denying public access to impact Assessment Reports for Heritage Sites the GOPb stands to violate the National Antiquities Act 1975, The Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance 1985.

Already impoverished sectors of the economy such as education and health are being further compromised. The 2014 -2015 GOPb Development budget allocates PKR 55,500 million to education (school education, higher education, literacy, Special Education, Sports and Youth Affairs), PKR 24,000 to Water Supply and Sanitation, and for Roads + Transport = 97, 030 -which doesn’t include the cost of these mega- projects.

Legal Issues: The Land Acquisition Act 1894 requires that the State only take land from citizens, if an absolute necessity and the State must allow effected parties to challenge the acquisition in court as a fundamental human and constitutional right. Failing which, it is also the responsibility of the State to compensate effected parties fairly for their loss. The Project is leading the Government to violate Article 11 of World Heritage Convention and National Antiquities Act 1975Punjab Special Premises Preservation Ordinance 1985 for heritage sites at Shalimar. A de-listing of both the Lahore Fort and the Shalimar from the World Heritage Sites List is expected due to this. By not sharing publically the details of the public project the Government is violating Transparency & Right to Information Act 2013 and thus establishing anti-democratic precedents.

Questionable Sustainability and Contrary Development: As per the Metro Authority the Lahore Metro Bus is operating on a subsidy of PKR4million per day while independent sources place it as high as PKR6.57million per day. The Government has so far given a subsidy of PKR2.4B per year for the Green Line. This subsidy is to be given for 50 years. This lop sided development with an emphasis on mobility is coming at the cost of investments in improving Education and Health. The cost of the subsidy since the bus service began has already gone double over the original 2007 Orange Line SYSTRA proposal.

In terms of Transport Planning, the government’s 2 development models of Signal Free corridors, and mass transit schemes are contrary to one another. While one champions the common man, nothing is being done to cultivate a culture where the dependence on private transport vehicles is reduced. The Government needs to develop then share publically an integrated Transport Plan of Lahore, for broader inclusion of stakeholders and a better project.

Development Paradigm: Larger concerns behind the Orange Metro Train project focus on the selected development paradigm pursued in this and previous State administrations. The development paradigm which concentrates purely on infrastructure without Human Security & Human Capital Development through Health, Education, Vocational Training, Employment Generation will lead to lop-sided development. Punjab’s Development Budget (2015-16) figures for Construction & Transport = PKR158B while Education = PKR44B and for Health = PKR20.7B

Conclusion:  The need for efficient & effective Mass Transport Systems for Lahore is real. But it must be developed with foresight through proper management systems and due consideration to all types of users from cars to cyclist to pedestrians, utilizing existing roads, and investments in buses and footpaths. A Mass Transit System effectively integrated with existing transport system must be developed in the long term using Tunnel technology with costs and character of the city in mind.

The current design of the Orange Metro Line will reconfigure the city for the worse. The nation will have to bear the cost of this project including human displacement, livelihoods, health and heritage for longer than envisioned in the loan repayment. Most critically, the entire Metro project will leave the larger transport issues of Lahore unresolved and the larger majority of the population un-serviced.