RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has asked Urban Unit and Nespak to prepare a detailed plan of urban regeneration along Leh Nullah under the Leh Nullah Expressway and Flood Channel Project.

The areas along the nullah need better civic infrastructure and the move will also generate revenue for the government, a senior official of Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) told Dawn.

“The basic aim of urban regeneration is to reduce the cost of land acquisition which the government considers is still high. The government has estimated that Rs35 billion would be required for the Leh Expressway project,” he added.

The provincial government has directed the Urban Unit Punjab and Nespak to make the plan for urban regeneration along Leh Nullah which will achieve two main goals.

Urban Unit, Nespak assigned task to ensure better civic infrastructure, generate revenue

“One is to lessen the land acquisition cost and the second to improve the infrastructure along the nullah. The move will improve the revenue generation by making these areas commercialised,” he said.

“The Urban Unit Punjab will provide data about digital landscaping of the areas and property details to Nespak and the latter will make a plan for setting up of commercial zones along Leh Nullah.”

The official said the government would invite investors to construct high-rise plazas in these zones for commercial and domestic use with the help of the landowners.

He said mostly people in the areas owned three to five marla domestic units and after commercialisation and zoning the government will get commercialisation fee for conversion of the domestic units into commercial property.

He said the government wanted to start the Leh Expressway project worth Rs65 billion under public-private partnership. After the completion of the project, commercial areas will be established along the expressway which will become a source of income for the government.

He said there were two proposals under consideration of the government for the expressway and flood channel. One is to construct it from New Kattarian Bridge to Soan River near Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench building and the second is from New Kattarian Bridge to Ammar Chowk.

He said the basic aim of constructing the flood channel from New Kattarian to Ammar Chowk was to let the nullah open for water recharge in the area.

However, he said, the government will decide after reviewing the project in a Public Privet Partnership Authority meeting.

When contacted, Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood said the government wanted to improve the infrastructure along the Leh Nullah.

He said the project will check possible floods in the monsoon, resolve traffic congestion in the city and generate economic activities along the proposed expressway.

He said the project aimed at redesigning the city by planned zoning. Urban regeneration is not a new idea as it is being implemented in major developed cities across the globe to improve infrastructure and living standards of the people, he added.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2021


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