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LAHORE, Oct 25 (APP): Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar inaugurated the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) at Dera Gujran depot, on Sunday.

Chinese Consul General Mr Long Ding Bin, Provincial Transport Minister Jahanzaib Kichchi, Managing Director Punjab Mass Transit Authority Sibtain Fazal Haleem of CR Norinko authorities were also present.

The inaugural ceremony of OLMT was also held in Beijing, which was attended by authorities of National Development Reforms Commission, CR Norinko and top Chinese officials. The ceremony was broadcast live through video-link. Chief Minister Usman Buzdar unveiled the plaque and prayed.

Later, the chief minister, along with Chinese consul general, formally inaugurated the OLMT by pressing a button.

Usman Buzdar, while addressing the ceremony, said that on the occasion he thanked China on behalf of the people and government of Punjab. The ties between both countries were six decades old and have strengthened with the passage of time despite the notable changes on the world landscape, he said.

Undoubtedly, Pak-China friendship was deeper than the sea, sweeter than honey and stronger than steel, he added.

He said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was the height of Pak-China friendship, adding that its success would start new era of development and prosperity which would further strengthen the bilateral relations between both countries.

He said the OLMT had been inaugurated for providing international standard transport facilities to citizens.

The CM said that the project would not only ensure stabilisation in urban development but also become a factor in enhancing the GDP.

He said that the PTI government had set a new political tradition by successfully completing the projects of the previous governments and did not let any project become a victimization of political biases as projects like Wazirabad Cardiology Institute and new building for the Punjab Assembly were an example of the political maturity.

He said that by rising above the political rivalry, the PTI government was also working on completion of the collapsed projects of previous governments worth Rs 1115 billion.

He said that in order to operate the OLMT project successfully, transparency has been ensured in the tendering of operational and maintenance besides saving nation’s billions of rupees. He added that the Punjab government, despite limited resources and economic situation occurred due to Covid-19 virus pandemic, was also giving subsidy of billions of rupees annually to ply the Orange Line train.

Usman Buzdar said that on this historic occasion, he would also like to pay tribute to the Pak Army and other law enforcement agencies’ support and cooperation for the success of CPEC. He said that number of CPEC projects were being successfully completed due to the sacrifices and day and night hard work of Pak Army and other law enforcement agencies.

He invited China’s Pakistan-friendly government, businesses organizations and companies to come together in the journey of progress and development. He said that there were vast opportunities of investment in Punjab in transport, livestock, agriculture, housing and other sectors, adding that the PTI government would welcome friends from China. He said that the ceremony was a milestone in Pak-China relations.

He thanked the entire industrial chain of Chinese urban rail transit and relevant departments for their efforts to complete the project and for introducing the design, manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance in abroad.

Chinese Consul General Long Ding Bin while told the ceremony that the Punjab government had provided full support for completion of the OLMT project and its commercial operation was being started from today [Sunday].

He congratulated Punjab and people of Pakistan. He said that the project was a milestone in the friendship between Pakistan and China. This is the first state-of-the-art rail project in Pakistan which has been successfully launched. This project has given new dimension to Pak-China friendship as this project of CPEC was a best example of partnership between Pakistan and China.

Provincial Minister for Transport Jehanzeb congratulated Lahorites on the inauguration of the Orange Line Metro Train and said that today the PTI government set a new political history by completing the project of former government in good faith.

The train was environmental-friendly which would solve transportation problems as well and help in controlling smog. Relations between Pakistan and China have been further strengthened under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jehanzeb added.

He said that the subsidy of billions was required to ply this train but the government would make every possible effort to reduce the subsidy.

Officials of National Development Reform Commission of China in their address through a video link from Beijing said that today one more project of CPEC has been completed on which they congratulate the people of Pakistan and the Punjab government.

Commercial operation of Orange Line Metro train is of great importance and it is a matter of great pleasure for them that despite of corona outbreak, the government has completed the work on the project in a smooth manner.

Managing Director Punjab Mass Transit Authority Sibtain Fazal Haleem in his briefing said that the project was first of its kind in Pakistan and it had been included in CPEC.

The Punjab government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, has been honoured to complete the project.

The ceremony was attended by provincial ministers, assembly members, chief secretary, Inspector General of Police, officials of Chinese companies and other high ranking officers.