LAHORE: The Punjab government has approved over Rs700 million Project Cost-II (PC-II) for the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project.

It plans to launch the project at a 36-kilometre stretch along both sides of the River Ravi, starting from five miles downstream of India-Pakistan border and ending approximately two miles downstream at the confluence of Hadiara Drain and the Ravi.

The PC-II includes the entire consultancy cost of the project’s detailed study, feasibility and design of the initially estimated US$7 billion project to be executed by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) in association with other departments concerned, it is learnt.

The LDA has recently hired a consortium, led by the Meinhardt (an Australian firm) as consultant for conducting a feasibility of the project.

Since the consortium has yet to start working formally, it is being planned to be stationed at the LDA’s Johar Town Complex in order to ensure good coordination between the consultant and the client (the LDA).

“Various rooms/offices at the ground floor of the LDA’s Johar Town complex have been spared for establishing offices of the consultant firm.

It has been done to ensure timely completion of the task to be taken in hand by the consultant under the supervision of the Strategic Policy Unit (SPU), a think tank of the LDA,” an official told Dawn on Thursday.

He said the consortium succeeded in getting the Rs330m consultancy work of the project through sealed bidding process.

According to the PC-II, the government will spend Rs424.28m and Rs267m by end of the fiscal year 2013-14 and mid of 2014-15, respectively.

The total cost of the PC-II includes expenses of the baseline data collection and survey worth Rs107.265m, hiring of consultancy services worth Rs14.427m, pre-feasibility study worth Rs186.677m, strategic development plan and detailed feasibilities worth Rs232.825m and detailed designing and procurement documents worth Rs159.588m.

The overall objectives of the consultancy, as per the PC, before launching of the project’s civil work include identification of the most feasible option for developing the river as a perennial fresh water body, good enough for high quality water front development, identification of the most feasible solution for the treatment of Lahore city’s wastewater, currently flowing into the river, preparation of a strategic development plan including detailed master planning for the project area with clear identification and potential of various drivers of economy and a sound business model for the project with assessment of various financing options, including but not limited to land value capture, premium generated through sale of developed land, public private partnership (PPP), municipal bonds etc, conduction of detailed feasibilities for key project components so they may be pitched for private investments, having support in developing detailed designs and procurement documents for public infrastructure development and a sound institutional framework for the development and management of whole project.

“The scope of the PC-II and the consultancy services is for the entire project and is planned to be completed in 18 months in three phases.

In phase 1, 2 and 3, pre-feasibility study, strategic development plan and detailed feasibilities (institutional arrangement, financial model and socio-economic and environmental viability of the project) and detailed design and development of procurement documents would be carried out respectively,” reads the PC document.

Apart from these, an official said the LDA was also planning to get 16 other studies before launching of the project’s civil work.

He said these included land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation of the semi-urban population to be affected by the project, flood, water availability for water front, planning and layout of water bodies by construction of gated structures, bridges, lateral intakes etc, hydraulic design of river channel, gated weirs, bridges etc, geotechnical studies and design, structural design, electrical and mechanical studies and design, urban development and town planning.