LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif desires replication of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project (SRDP) model in Lahore’s river Ravi and may share it with Indian premier-designate Narendra Modi during his visit to India starting May 26 (tomorrow), Dawn has learnt.

Officials say Mr Sharif is of the view that the accomplishment of the SRDP in Ahmedabad is one of the major initiatives of Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat. The project was carried out by the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited, a company established by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

The authorities in Lahore have started work on the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RRUDP) worth Rs700 billion. After pre-feasibility of the project, an international consultant firm has started detailed feasibility, design and plan of the project under the supervision of the Strategic Policy Unit, a technical think-tank of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

“During various recent meetings with the commissioner and the LDA director general, the prime minister was given presentations on the project and shown models of the developed riverfronts of various cities including Ahmedabad (India) and Singapore. The PM is of the view that a team led by the commissioner and the LDA DG should visit India to learn about the techniques and methods used in the SRDP to replicate it in Lahore,” a senior Punjab government official told Dawn.

He said the core objective of the PM’s visit was to felicitate the Indian prime minister and break the ice on bilateral issues but he might also share his understanding about the SRDP during scheduled meeting on May 27.

He said a four-member delegation headed by the Lahore commissioner and the LDA DG was scheduled to fly to India during the second week of this month but the plan had been postponed owing to engagements during the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s May 11 event. Now they might visit India in the coming days after return of the PM, he said.

On the other hand, some officials say the SRDP model is quite different to the RRUDP because of technical and other reasons. “The SRDP is a good case study but can hardly be replicated due to wastewater, sediments, water treatment, availability of state and private land, cost of land, barrages structure, reclaimed area, number of households and their rehabilitation and settlement issues.

The official said the PM, who desires completion of the RRUDP’s phase-1 in one year, held meetings with the foreign investors in Lahore on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2014

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