LAHORE: The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has asked the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government to explain how it will generate huge funds for the ambitious Rs5 trillion Ravi urban development project, which, according to it, was dropped by the Shahbaz Sharif administration considering it economically unviable.
“The PML-N’s Punjab government in 2013-14 had started the process of acquiring 30,000 acres for the ‘River Ravi Urban Development Zone Project’ but later dropped it considering it economically unviable,” PML-N deputy secretary general Attaullah Tarar told Dawn on Saturday.
He said the PC-I of the project had been approved and the them PML-N regime had enough development funds to launch the new city.
“But after consulting all the stakeholders, it was decided that it would not be wise to go ahead with this project,” he said, adding now the PTI regime had picked up the PML-N’s dropped project just to hoodwink the public that it was going to launch a new city in Lahore that would create millions of jobs.
“This project, at the end of the day, will prove nothing but a ‘paper project’ and Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team know this. On the ground, this project cannot see the light of the day in absence of any commercial activity. Besides, the incumbent government has no sources of funding in this respect,” Mr Tarar went on to say.
“The PTI government during the last two years had either put its nameplates on the PML-N projects or picked up its (PML-N) dropped projects like Ravi City,” he said.
The PML-N Punjab government’s project along the river Ravi had an estimated cost of Rs700bn, of which Rs300bn was to be spent on land and Rs150bn on a water treatment plant along the bank of the river Ravi. The remaining amount was to be spent on the infrastructure.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday laid a foundation stone of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development project. The premier said the Rs5tr project would create millions of jobs as there were 40 industries connected to the construction sector.
PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal mocked PM Khan, saying his government did not have Rs5bn for higher education and it was going to launch a Rs5tr project. “If this government has 5,000bn for the Ravi City project, it should also allocate Rs10bn for higher education,” Mr Iqbal told a presser here on Saturday.
He said the PML-N would not allow Imran Khan to establish his dictatorship in the country. He said the Imran Khan government could not deliver despite being given a free hand in two years. “On the contrary, the PML-N government was not allowed to work as either a sit-in was staged or a religious card was used against it, in addition to a media trial of its leadership,” the former interior minister said.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020