Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought a detailed plan about six key developmental projects in Lahore, including the two to be executed by the Water and Sanitation Agency. The authorities concerned are likely to give a thorough briefing to the premier during his visit to the city by this week’s end.

The prime minister has desired the submission of detailed plans regarding upgradation of the water, sanitation and drainage system, widening, enhancement and bricklining of all existing drains, next phases of the Ashiyana Housing Scheme, commercial zone at the Walton airport land, Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project and restoration of Jahangir’s Tomb and construction of a lake in Shahdara near the river under phase-I of the Ravi project.

Though previously Nawaz would question the senior officials about the Ravi project and its phase-I alone, his interest in early execution and completion of other important projects indicates he also wants to see these schemes completed in a record time.

“Earlier, whenever the premier came to Lahore, at least during the last 10 months, he would always push the officials to launch the Ravi project by focusing on early completion of its phase-1 worth over Rs13 billion within a year after completion of its detailed feasibility, said a senior official.

He said the prime minister looked to be serious as his Islamabad-based senior staff conveyed to the Lahore commissioner, the LDA director-general and others officials concerned a few days back to be ready for giving presentation to him (premier) in this regard at his Jati Umrah residence.

The official said the premier took serious notice of media reports related to deteriorating drainage system in the city that always choked in every monsoon, causing a loss of lives and property.

Since the recently-concluded monsoon season also caused massive accumulation of the rainwater, mainly in central and northern Lahore, the situation forced the premier to seek some viable proposals for avoiding such problems in future.

While pointing out the Ashiyana Housing Project for the low-income people, he said the prime minister wanted to float request for proposal for its extension/next phases being planned at the provincial metropolis.

“This is the project that will enable the government to minimize housing problems of the poor people. The officials have been asked to present the plan before the premier by mentioning the current status, upcoming phases, date of completion, performance indicators and challenges,” he said.

The official said the development of a commercial zone at the Walton airport land was another project the prime minister was taking keen interest and he wanted to resolve all issues related to the land between the government and the Cantonment Board.

He said the PM’s constant focus on the Ravi project and its phase-1 completion reflected that the authorities concerned would soon launch the mega scheme.

“The feasibility of the phase-I is almost completed and it is expected that the prime minister will inaugurate the project in near future,” the official said.

The launch of the construction of an underpass at Jinnah Hospital’s intersection on Canal Road, on the way from Thokar to onward, is good news for the motorists.

The construction of the underpass is a part of the recently-started work on a major road linking Wahdat Road, Iqbal Town and Multan Road directly from Canal Road through the Punjab University area.

Officials say the construction of a single-way underpass is necessary to make the Canal Road a signal-free corridor. “Had there been no plan to construct the underpass, there would have been no use of constructing a new road through the university to link canal with Wahdat Road and other localities,” an official said.

After the completion of the underpass, he said the traffic heading toward the campus underpass and other localities on the Canal Road from Thokar would face no disturbance at this particular point.

Similarly, those who desire to use a new road to reach Wahdat Road from Jinnah Hospital, Thokar, Campus or Johar Town will easily pass through the intersection without hindering the traffic. –

(khalidpak284@yahoo.com)

Published in Dawn, September 30th , 2014

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