Pakistan offers incentives to investors for Rs 5 trillion ‘River Ravi Project’
Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has assigned the task of urban planning and design of the River Ravi Project to Meinhardt Group, Singapore. The consultant has disclosed the following information about the project plan and their development targets
Prime Minister Iman Khan launched Rs 5 trillion ‘Ravi Urban Development Project’ and termed it vital to save the historical city of Lahore from environmental challenges caused by unplanned settlements
Prime Minister Iman Khan launched Rs 5 trillion ‘Ravi Urban Development Project’ and termed it vital to save the historical city of Lahore from environmental challenges caused by unplanned settlements. This project was envisioned in 1949 but has since been pending due to the disinterest of consecutive governments in such a large-scale urban development project that would require a huge budget and about three decades to materialize. Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has assigned the task of urban planning and design of the River Ravi Project to Meinhardt Group, Singapore. The consultant has disclosed the following information about the project plan and its development targets. The proposed RRUDP will extend over an area of about 414 km and will be implemented over 30 years period in three phases. The analysis supported the feasibility of having twelve sectors in RRUDP, namely: medical city, residential, mix-use, urban farms, downtown, commercial city, innovation city, government/financial city, tourism, central city, knowledge city, echo-city, and sports city. The environmental and social impact assessment highlighted the positive impacts of the project such as economic uplifting of the region and country, improved quality of life, socioeconomic and lifestyle enhancement, ecological uplifting of River Ravi, sustainable lifestyle, tourism, and flood protection. There will also be some negative impacts (such as loss of agricultural lands of about 76,684 acres and impact on almost 65 settlements that include 20,723 households with a population of 80,000 along with their assets during project implementation and operational stages. However, these are expected to be temporary in nature and can be mitigated as suggested in EIA and SIA reports. Under this project, the following projects will be planned and developed in Lahore: Eco-friendly modern facilities will be developed for education, health, government institutions, commercial activities, sports, and many other purpose-built centers. That will include Knowledge City, Medical City, Sports City, Innovation City, and Financial City. It will promote different activities like Education, Culture, Technology, Sports, and Business, and create jobs. 46 km long lake will be developed that will help control floods as well as maintain the underground water table in Lahore. Three barrages will be constructed on River Ravi that will store approximately 271 billion liters of water. Filtration plants to be installed to make Ravi water potable. Sewerage treatment plants to be installed to treat wastewater before draining into the Ravi River. Six million trees will be planted to create an urban forest. It will not only help reduce pollution in Lahore but also help secure natural habitat. As we know that Lahore is one of the most rapidly expanding cities in Pakistan, and due to horizontal expansion, large swathes of agricultural land have been developed into housing schemes. If this expansion continues, we will end up with a serious shortage of food in the years to come due to the shortage of arable land. Due to mega infrastructure projects in Lahore over time, more than 70% of natural greenery has been destroyed which has caused air pollution and smog issue in Lahore. An urban forest project will help mitigate these issues, control rising temperatures, as well as add to the beauty of Lahore. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has offered incentives for Emirati investment in its special economic zones as the province’s leaders met with the UAE ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Al-Zaabi, in Lahore on Friday, the chief minister’s office said. Al-Zaabi met with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi to discuss cooperation in different departments, as the province is establishing 13 special economic zones and industrial estates. Buzdar invited UAE investment in the special zones and the Ravi River project — a new city near the Ravi River in Lahore district — and said that “special facilities” would be provided to Emirati investors. “UAE investors will be welcomed in Punjab. Cooperation with the UAE in Pakistan’s construction and development (sectors) is commendable,” he said after the meeting, as quoted in the statement. The groundbreaking of the Allama Iqbal Industrial City special zone in Faisalabad took place earlier this year, while Quaid-e-Azam Business Park in Sheikhupura was launched last month. Buzdar said that the foundation stone for the third special zone, in Bahawalpur, will be laid soon. Al-Zaabi, according to the statement, invited the chief minister to visit UAE. Earlier this month, Pakistan’s minister for shipping, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi said the UAE expressed interest in investing in development projects in Pakistan. The announcement came after meeting with officials from a top UAE company, DP World, which specializes in free trade zones, cargo logistics, port terminal operations, and maritime services. On the other hand, the top Saudi Arabia diplomate in Pakistan met noted personalities and conveyed greetings to the people of Pakistan on behalf of the Kingdom and its people on the 73rd anniversary of independence Friday. Ambassador Nawaf bin Saeed Al Malki held separate meetings with ex-PM Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Moonis Elahi, and Punjab CM Usman Buzdar. Matters of mutual interest, Covid-19 combat, investment opportunities in Pakistan, and steps to a better economy for prosperity came under discussion. The Saudi envoy praised the Pakistani authorities and expressed the Kingdom’s interest in investment in Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project. Nawaf bin Saeed Al Malki said the Saudi government will always stand by Pakistan. He said the Umrah pilgrims will soon be let perform the ritual. The Kingdom halted the pilgrimage as parts of protective measures in wake of coronavirus outbreak.