Ravi Urban Development Authority’s (RUDA) Member Iftikhar Ali Malik revealed this information after a meeting with a delegation of builders and developers that was jointly chaired by Zain Zubair Khalid Mirza and Shehroz Hassan on Sunday.
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The Government of China and Chinese Companies are interested to invest $3 billion dollars in the project initially, told Malik. This investment would exclude all kinds of loans, he added. A Global Investment Consortium, The ANGCC has also offered an investment worth $5 billion on a partnership basis. RUDA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two more Chinese companies. One is a member company of the 4C conglomerate China Road and Bridging Company (CRBC) and the other is the China Gezhouba Group Company Limited (CGGC). Both these companies have signed the MoU for a multi-billion-dollar investment in this huge project. These companies are currently playing their part in the successful execution of various infrastructure projects in Pakistan.
Challenges faced by Lahore
As a growing metropolis, Lahore is facing a number of challenges including overpopulation, congestion, unplanned growth, and competing land uses, said Malik. He further stated that Lahore was a regional urban center of vital industrial, financial and socio-cultural importance and these issues need to be countered. The Ravi City being the first of its kind is, therefore, is being established to address the pressing problems of the city whose population has now crossed 110 million, he added.
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Talking about Imran Khan, Mr. Malik said that there was no doubt that PM Khan is well-known globally and his personality does make a difference. That is why a number of foreign investors have reposed full faith in the historic package of incentives offered by the PTI government. He also urged the local investors to avail this opportunity and play their part in nation-building.
The members of the delegation of builders and developers included Chaudhry Khalid Pervaiz, Ahmad Waqar, Kamran Shafique Chaudhry, Imran Mughal, Athar Aziz, Dawood Khalid, Junaid Iftikhar, Atiqur Rehman, and Azeem Pervaiz.
Work on Ravi Riverfront Project starts
Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RUDP) is an approved urban development project located in Lahore District, that runs along the Ravi river. Prime minister Imran Khan inaugurated the project on 7 August 2020 and the development work has already started. This project is supposed to convert the dying Ravi River into a perennial freshwater body along with high-quality urban development on each side of the bank. The first phase of RUDP is estimated to cost Rs 1 trillion, including land acquisition of Rs 200 million.
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This gigantic project is going to generate a number of socio-economic benefits for the province of Punjab. It is going to create tremendous employment opportunities, ensure water security, fulfill housing needs, and would help run numerous industries. This 46-kilometer-long waterfront project is said to have 13 special centers including a health city, a knowledge city, a commercial city, a sports city, and an innovation city.
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The idea of an urban development project on the Ravi front was first suggested in 1947 by the then Deputy Commissioner of Lahore. It was then taken up by the Government of Punjab in 2013 and in 2014, Lahore Development Authority hired a Singapore-based architectural firm Meinhardt Group to run the feasibility report and design the project. Initially, the project was supposed to span over 18,000 hectares but in August 2020, Mehmood Ur Rashid announced the revised area of the riverfront project to be 40,000 hectares. This project is basically inspired by the developments around River Thames in London. An urban forest, a lake, three barrages, and six water treatment plants are to be built in the first of its development. This 44000-acre city project is surely going to be the beginning of a new Lahore as it’s going to upgrade the living standards of millions of its inhabitants.