By Our Staff Reporter
Lahore: Living upto his promise, Prime Minister Iman Khan on Friday launched a Rs 5 trillion Ravi Urban Development Project to revive the lost glory of Lahore, struggling with the problems of pollution, sewerage and water shortage.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has been keenly focousing on housing projects soon after becoming Prime Minister.
According to state run Associated Press of Pakistan, Prime Minister said the modern city project was “vital to save the historical city of Lahore from environmental challenges in the wake of unplanned settlements”.
The project will rehabilitate and develop the dying River Ravi into a perennial freshwater body, with high-quality waterfront urban development. The modern city will have all facilities for its dwellers, besides a forest area to be planted with six million trees.
Imran Khan said the project would be the second largest planned city in Pakistan, after Islamabad.
He said over the past few decades, Lahore witnessed deterioration in all civic services due to irregular expansion of the city, including waste disposal, provision of clean drinking water, electricity and gas, communication etc.
He pointed out that the pollution in Lahore rose to an alarming level, obstructing sunlight in winters with the people suffering serious breathing problems.
Imran Khan regretted that the grand River Ravi that once traversed through the city, eventually shrunk into a sewerage nullah.
He expressed the hope that the new project that was abandoned for years, would restore the water table of Lahore that had dropped by 800 feet in 15 years. He said barrages in the Ravi would be constructed and sewerage treatment plants along the river would be installed to feed clean water into the river.
He said the new city, which would have high-rise buildings in vertical dimension to optimally utilise the land space, would be completed with the collaboration of private investors.
He invited the overseas Pakistanis to benefit from the grand opportunity. The people might invest in the construction sector till December 31, 2020 , as Pakistan had been given relaxation on international obligations regarding documentation of the informal economy.
The prime minister said the project would provide employment and generate economic activity as the construction sector was linked with 40 other industries. It would also lead to wealth creation and help in poverty alleviation and provide more resources for health, education and debt servicing.
He said unlike the metro bus project of the previous government which required an annual subsidy of Rs 28 billion, the current project would be self sustaining.
He said besides the new urban development project, work was progressing on the Naya Pakistan Housing project and a stage had come, where Pakistan was at a tipping point in terms of employments creation and development.