LAHORE: The Chunian (Kasur) Industrial Estate Project will be converted into Pakistan’s first seafood species breeding, growing and export hub — Chunian Aqua Business Park — after the land acquired for the industrial estate was found unsuitable for an industrial estate due to rising saline groundwater table.
The Punjab government has approved a proposal of the Punjab Industrial Estate Development Management Company (PIEDMC) seeking conversion of the industrial estate project into an aqua business park project, Dawn has learnt.
“The Punjab government had earlier spent over Rs350 million on the land acquisition, construction of a boundary wall and preparing a design for developing the industrial estate, also connected to Multan Road, near Bhai Pheru, about 40km away from Lahore. However, it could not complete the project during the previous government of the PML-N,” an official source in the Punjab government told Dawn on Tuesday.
The source said when the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf came to power in Aug 2018, it started making changes in various departments, companies etc.
Decision made by Punjab govt due to rising saline groundwater table
A new board of directors (BoD) of the PIEDMC was also constituted. The PIEDMC, which deals with the affairs of Punjab’s industrial estates, resumed work on Chunian Industrial Estate Project. Before initiating civil works at the site, the company got the soil test carried out.
“The PIEDMC BoD was surprised to see the soil test report that revealed that groundwater table is lying at just up to 10 feet or slightly above which makes the land unsuitable for an industrial estate,” the source said.
According to him, after knowing this, the company started considering other options to utilise the area for other industrial purposes in conformity with the soil tests. Later some studies were conducted that declared that the area was suitable for breeding, growing and exporting seafood species, particularly crab, prawn and shrimp.
Since the land appeared feasible for fish farming also, it was decided to add this component to the project for local consumption through marketing it at a nearby proposed mega fish market project on Multan Road after shifting of Lahore’s existing Lohari fish market there.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2021