LAHORE - The affectees of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project are awaiting compensation as the provincial government and Lahore Development Authority have even failed to compile lists of the damaged or demolished properties, TheNation learnt on Tuesday.
Most of affectees are homeless or jobless after demolition of their homes and business centres, which were demolished for widening road, constructing of bus terminals and passenger stations on a dozens of places. They do not have sufficient money for the construction of homes and shops because the government did not even allocate any fund for their compensation. The demolished areas and buildings are presenting a picture of ruins while the affectees are eager to reconstruct their homes or shift to any other area for residence after getting compensation amount.
Muhammad Riaz, a resident of Litton Road said that government demolished major portion of his multi-storey house including the second portion which was constructed by him a couple of months ago for the residence of his newly-married son and daughter-in-law. He also was using front portion of his building for business purpose which he was compelled to shut down after demolition of his building. As a result, he is now not only homeless but also jobless.
Naeem Khan, a shopkeeper at Litton Road termed the project a white elephant. According to him, a large number of citizens and their businesses had suffered a lot due to construction of flyover.
Sources in LDA informed that following directions of provincial government, the authorities concerned started work on the project in haste and without allocation of funds and sans fulfilling any legal and other requirements. However, an official of the LDA, on the request of anonymity told this scribe that the government has yet to start surveys of the sites for assessment of damage to the properties of the affectees during construction of the project and after completing any assessment report, the government would be able to release compensation funds.
However, he said that the government would distribute compensation amount to the affectees before the completion of the project. The compensation amount might be in billions of rupees and is likely to be released by the end of November or December 2012 because the project would most probably be completed in December.
The sources further said that the amount would be increased with start of work on the other tracks of Thokar Niaz Baig to MAO College (13 kilometre) and Thokar to Mughalpura (20 kilometer) via Canal Bank Road, which are likely to be started immediately after the completion of the ongoing project of BRTS from Gajomata to Shahdara. The government claimed to complete the project by the end of October 2012 with an estimated cost of over Rs 55billion.
As far as under construction portion of the major portion of the project is concerned it would be double bus-only lane down the centre of Ferozpur Road from Gajomata (Kahna) to Shahdara at a cost of Rs 32 billion which has been divided into six packages.
Project Director Mazhar Khan said that work on the longest flyover of the South Asia had already been started (from Muslim Town Morre to Data Darbar) as the total length of such largest and longest flyover is over 7.5 kilometer.
Most of the buildings were demolished in way of the project, he added. He claimed that the work on the entire project of BRTS would be completed by the end of October 2012.