LAHORE: Like the mythological phoenix, the dying river Ravi is set to rise from its remains and give birth to a new Lahore on the largest 46 kilometers long riverfront to compete with any modern city in the world.
An ambitious urban development project initiated by the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to build a new Pakistan, Ravi River Front Urban Development (RRFUD) project will uplift the dying river Ravi that is almost reduced to a nullah by the unlawful construction of dams by the Indian government.
The construction of a 46-kilometer long lake from Ravi Siphon to Hudiara, laying of a complex network of roads, and construction of 12 new high-tech cities would be the hallmark of this project, started under the vision of the prime minister for building ‘Naya Pakistan.’
Provincial Minister for Housing, Urban Development, and Public Health Engineering (HUD&PHE) Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed described it as a novel project that would benefit the communities and the investors and help improve the environment of the city.“The RRFUD project is a reflection of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to build a new Pakistan,” the minister said. “PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] government is fulfilling another promise made to people.”
He said that the Ravi Riverfront will be developed in three phases. In the first phase, a lake covering 46 kilometers area, six wastewater treatment plants, three barrages, and an urban forest would be developed during the first three years, he added.
The minister said that a total land area of 103,271 acres will be acquired for the project that would also include building of wastewater and surface water treatment plants, a network of roads, and 12 new cities, including medical city, residential city, downtown, commercial hub, urban farms and miscellaneous use city, would be built.
Lahore city once known for its beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and a culture loved by everyone, had suffered the unchecked populace migration, pollution, and groundwater adulteration.
“Innovation City spanning over 1370 acres will be developed in the second phase while the third phase will see the completion of Knowledge City, Sports City and Eco-City on a land area of 14000 acres”, the minister said.
He said that the development of the lake will purge the Ravi from domestic and industrial waste and provide 271 billion liters of water, adding that the wastewater treatment plants would help treat 2.4 billion liter water that would irrigate 75000 acres of land.
Elaborating the importance of ‘Surface Water Treatment Plants’, he said that the plant will decrease the dependency of the Lahoris on groundwater by 50 per cent as 2.4 billion liters of safe drinking water will be produced from the canal water after treatment.
Rasheed said the project will be completed with an estimated cost of Rs2 trillion with financing to be met through public-private partnerships (PPPs), joint ventures (JVs), private finance initiative (PFI), multilateral loan and grants, and budgetary grants and developer financing.
Successive governments had failed to check illegal construction and massive migration to this dream city that resulted in its abrupt growth and shrinking facilities. None of the governments in the past could introduce a comprehensive plan for preserving the beauty and human-friendly environment of the city.
The mounting pressure of human and vehicular population has resulted in multiple health and mobility problems. Last winter it was reckoned as the most polluted city in the world due to the prevailing massive smog that had resulted in the ailment of thousands of its residents.
“We have envisaged a city of future dreams. It will meet the water needs of Lahore till 2045,” Rasheed said. “With a length of 46 kilometers and a width of 3280 feet surrounded by a 33 feet high wall, it would look like a gift of nature for the people of Lahore.”
He said that three barrages will be built to attain the water level for the riverfront as the project is to generate enormous financial activity through the creation of new jobs, housing facilities, a clean environment, and futuristic facilities.
The RRFUD project would be the second planned urban project after Islamabad that will give a unique look of a modern city to compete with another most advanced and beautiful city in the world. This project would be another feather in the cap of the PTI government which has already embarked on a number of projects for the socio-economic uplift of masses and putting the country back on the path of economic revival.
“It is a step towards the fulfillment of PTI’s election manifesto. We are committed to continuing our journey to prosperity, better environment, public welfare, and economic stability in the country,” the minister said.
The government has also planned to plant six million saplings under this project to make the area clean and green making it for people a lovely place to enjoy a unique residential style.
This project would be a trendsetter and a shift from a traditional lifestyle to a novel living culture where masses facilitation would be a prime priority. Lagging behind the race for development over the decades, this project would provide an air of magnificence to Pakistani people who can boast anywhere in the world to have a location compatible with any modern city in the world.