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Friday, July 19, 2024

Punjab Govt decides to build Dubai like modern city north of Lahore

River Ravi Front Authority (RRFA) to develop a new modern city, like Dubai, in north of Lahore on 400 sq. Km is an ambitious project and must be welcomed. But will CM Punjab, Usman Buzdar, be able to deliver such a large project? Current city of Lahore is spread over 1700 sq. Km

Punjab government has decided to constitute a separate authority to carve out a new city in the North of Lahore on modern lines.

This news offers much respite to people living in Lahore who for long have been facing issues related to over crowdedness; frequent traffic jams, urban mismanagement etc.

Ravi River Front Authority

This authority will be headed by the Chief Minister (CM) Punjab Usman Buzdar. The approval for the establishment of this authority under the nomenclature of River Ravi Front Authority has been accorded by the CM Punjab.

The ordinance in this regard will soon be promulgated. This authority will start work for setting up the new city. Area of this city will be measuring 100,000 acres which is close to 404 square kilometres. It is noteworthy that Lahore, the capital of Punjab has a total area of 1772 square kilometres.

Under this multi-billion plan, a modern city similar to Dubai will be constructed on over one lac acres land in the north of Lahore.

In this new state-of-the-art city, construction of high rise buildings will be the top priority of the government.

Read more: Govt. to encourage high-rises to meet housing demand: PM Khan

A big lake and 3 barrages will also be constructed in the city. With the completion of this project not only the growing problems of climate, water and traffic will be overcome but also an investment of Rs 5000 billion is likely from the private sector.

River Ravi Front: Originally conceived by Shahbaz Sharif

The Government of Punjab is working on reviving an erstwhile urban development project to establish a new city centre alongside River Ravi on a modern theme.

The scheme, originally conceived by the previous PMLN government in 2013 of Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, was shelved due to the dearth of requisite foreign investment of $7.5 billion, comprises a number of residential and commercial zones, medical city and forest reserve besides a central business district.

This if started to materialise will be a great attraction for the property developers inside the country – like DHA and Bahria Town – and abroad in the Middle East. However many questions remained unanswered.

Its not clear if Usman Buzdar government will be mobilising foreign funds or will rely upon domestic fundings? And how such large funds being mentioned (Rs. 5000 billon) will be attracted at such distance from Lahore. Media clearly needs more information from Punjab Govt to understand its plans and vision – especially when Shahbaz Sharif government had to shelf this project.

The riverfront is projected to be developed on the lines of the one on the banks of River Thames that runs through London.

Keen on the idea to establish a new city, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar presided over a meeting to review proposals regarding the same. Director General Lahore Development Authority Sumair Ahmed Saeed briefed him on the proposed project.

“Building new cities is important in the wake of population increase,” said Buzdar.

Housing Minister Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority, Chief Secretary, Vice Chairman LDA, SMBR, Chairman P&D and others attended the meeting.

Read more: Govt housing scheme to be expanded to 4 more Punjab districts: Mian Rasheed

The project, spreading over 44,817 acres and running along the River in a northeast-southwest direction, will set a new centre of the City in the districts of Lahore and Sheikhupura. As per the original plan, the new City would be developed on both sides of the riverbank along a 33-kilometre long stretch contiguous to Lahore district’s northern and western boundaries.

The government is also considering a proposal to sell over 25,000 acres of riverfront to investors for business and cultural activities.

Media, Citizens & Diasporas will need more information

While the idea of this New Lahore, Ravi River Front, stretching 33 kilometres along the banks of Ravi is attractive but Pakistan’s property developers, interested citizens, Pakistani diasporas across North America, Middle East and Europe will clearly need more information from Punjab Govt to assess the scope of investments.

This becomes all the more important in view of the glut and over availability of plots in the various schemes of DHA and Bahria towns across the country. DHA Islamabad, Phase II extension has created thousands of residential plots across hundreds of kilometres and there is limited sale and purchase for the past several years.

Similarly Bahria Town Karachi and Bahria Enclave Islamabad have created huge plots and are forcing buyers to take possession and start constructions. However a sizeable percentage of all these plots were taken by property developers who are continuously looking at the economic situation and market for sale and purchase.

Property developers, House construction companies and contractors are not satisfied by the recent incentives – tax breaks, loan schemes – provided by the PTI government; they clearly want more clarity for markets to pick up. Imran Khan was very eager to create a Housing mortgage market in Pakistan but so far government has not been able to do anything substantial in that direction.

Online Int’l News with additional input by GVS News Desk