ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan was told on Thursday that development work on the ambitious multi-billion-rupee Ravi Urban Development Project (RUDP) has started and would be completed in phases.
Presiding over a meeting on the RUDP and the Karachi islands project, the prime minister was pleased to know that the Frontier Works Organisation and the National Logistics Cell had started development work on the RUDP.
The meeting was also attended by Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail, federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi and senior officials of the Pakistan Islands Development Authority and the RUDP.
In a separate meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on housing, construction and development, the prime minister was told that the banks had almost achieved their quarterly targets of disbursement of house loans.
The first meeting was informed that some Chinese firms were also taking part in the RUDP in different joint ventures with local construction companies.
A senior official of the RUDP told Dawn that the project would not only provide housing and create jobs but would also restore aquatic atmosphere in the Ravi River, that had almost dried for the last many years. Huge retaining walls would be constructed on the banks of the river channel to accumulate rainwater and waste water of Lahore city after filtering it through filtration plants.
The official said that the project would also help restore underground water table of Lahore, which was dropping by three feet every year.
Speaking at the first meeting, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to fix timelines for completion of the RUDP in Lahore and Bundal and Buddo islands project in Karachi.
He stressed the need for promotion of the two projects so that people could know about their economic and climatic benefits. Both projects were vital in view of increasing housing demands, he added.
During the meeting of the NCC on housing, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir said that banks had almost met their quarterly targets of house loan disbursement.
He said that more than 100 officials of the SBP conducted “mystery shopping” by visiting different banks on a daily basis to ascertain the on-the-ground situation and monitor the facilities being provided to house loan-seekers.
Capital Development Authority chairman Amir Ali Ahmed said that the authority had received site plans of four out of 12 recently auctioned commercial plots in New Blue Area commercial centre for approval. He said that the process of automation in land revenue record-keeping would be completed in one month.
The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to provide facilities to construction-related industries as it was the dire need of the hour that the wheel of economy should keep running.
Talking about Islamabad, he said it that was the only planned city of the country but its beauty was fading therefore its green image should be protected.
Prime Minister Khan also met Housing Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema and discussed various housing projects being executed by his ministry.
Later, the prime minister met his special assistant on health Dr Faisal Sultan and Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and directed them to ensure strict implementation of standard operating procedures to contain the second wave of coronavirus in the country.
Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020