Ravi riverfront project: Compensation to landowners has started, claims Ruda

Published September 6, 2021
The government claims to have started implementing the special compensation package for the landowners/affectees of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project. — AFP/File
The government claims to have started implementing the special compensation package for the landowners/affectees of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The government claims to have started implementing the special compensation package for the landowners/affectees of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project under the Land Acquisition Act 1894.

The implementation of the package was started after the government approved it in the light of recommendations of a special committee, respective district administrations (Lahore & Sheikhupura) and the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda), Dawn has learnt.

“From Saturday, we have started implementing the compensation package prepared specially for the landowners/affectees of the country’s first and biggest urban project. The landowners have started receiving cheques from the respective revenue officials/committees,” Ruda Chief Executive Officer Imran Amin told Dawn on Sunday.

“The compensation cheques are being given to those whose land falls within jurisdiction the Sapphire Bay (Phase-1), which comprises of around 2,000 acres. The compensation package for the land situated in other phases of the project is not yet prepared since the land acquisition process is yet to begin there,” Mr Amin explained.

It may be mentioned that the landowners had expressed grave concerns over the compensation package announced earlier and urged the government to make a reasonable package for acquiring their land. Keeping in view the demands, the government had constituted a committee to hear the landowners and give recommendations in a bid to offer good land price.

According to the package, the government has offered up to Rs3.5m per acre for the land situated in the river bed along with a developed plot measuring from five to seven marla on each acre. Similarly, the package for the land other than the riverbed ones ranges from Rs5m to Rs7/8m along with a 10 marla developed plot (per acre). Likewise, the compensation for the crops, outhouses, rooms, infrastructure etc is separate.

“The cost of a developed plot (per marla) has been estimated as Rs500,000. And if we calculate the total compensation package (per acre), it appears to be more than Rs5m (per acre) for the riverbed land and Rs9/10m (per acre) for the other land. So I think it is the best-ever package for the land the government is acquiring for this project,” Mr Amin claimed, requesting the landowners to keep away from those propagating against a project that would reduce the massively increasing urban pressure on the existing city of Lahore.

The project’s urban design consists of three phases– Phase-I is spread over around 45,000 acres, Phase-II on around 34,000 acres and Phase-III on around 24,000 acres. Twelve cities have been proposed in different phases that include Medical City, Residential City, Government and Finance City, Innovation City, Knowledge City, Mix Use, Sports City, Tourism and Entertainment, Eco City, Commercial, Urban Farms and Downtown. The project has been divided in various zones called Mix Use Residential, Mix Use Commercial, Mid Rise Residential, Technology City, Residential (Single family units), Mix-use, Central Commercial Park, Financial, Residential High-rise, Forests etc.

The Ravi project stretches over a length of approximately 46km. The river, under the plan, shall be channelised in three phases. One barrage is proposed to be provided at the end of each phase of total three phases to maintain water level in the channel. Additionally, islands shall be provided in each phase. The additional water, required to develop Ravi into a perennial fresh water body would be diverted from Marala Barrage into Upper Chenab Canal (UCC) and then into BRBD Canal. Since the essence of project is the revitalisation of the Ravi river, it is claimed to be supportive to the ecological system to thrive back naturally and uplift the adjourning areas socially and economically. The authorities claim that they project will also rehabilitate the Ravi river into perennial fresh body and additional benefits of treating whole city’s existing wastewater. The implementation of the project has reportedly many benefits in terms of social, environmental and economic enhancement.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2021

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