LAHORE: The Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda) management says the scope of the residential, commercial and mix use segment under the mega Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project is limited to around 50pc as its 40pc of the area will have forests, agriculture, playgrounds and greenbelts.

The management further says the private housing schemes illegally developed over the land mentioned as residential or mix use would be regularised while those falling in the areas allocated for agriculture, forests, sports, commercial or other purposes would not be given legal cover.

“Around 40pc of the total project area (over 100,000 acres) will be developed with forests, agriculture etc. It means we would have half of the total land for other purposes including residential, commercial, medical etc,” RUDA Chief Executive Officer Imran Ameen said at a brainstorming session with the project development partners and land providers at a local hotel on Friday.

As for the residential schemes, he said several illegal housing schemes were developed in the past. However, keeping in view the master plan, the authority plans to regularise only those falling in the areas allocated for such activities. He said the areas allocated for industrial projects would have 89,000 flats for the workers.

Residential, commercial part restricted to 50pc area

He said the development partners / land providers were an asset and assured them of providing all facilities while dealing with various residential projects in Ravi city. “An American real estate company is interested in investing in our project. And I would ask you to partner with this international firm that plans to launch various such projects in the project area,” Ameen said.

Earlier, Ruda’s Project Director (Commercial) Kashif Qureshi briefed the participants on the project aim, mission and objectives. He said the core objective behind developing a new city along Ravi was not only to reduce increasing urban pressure on the existing Lahore but also to raise depleting underground water table that has now reached up to 600 feet.

“With the revival of the Ravi, we will be able to get rid of various civic issues such as depletion of water table, discharge of sewerage water, increasing pollution etc.” He said successive governments appreciated the Ravi project keeping in view its large-scale benefits for urban and rural population.

He said 32pc of the total project area had illegal housing schemes which had been developed during the last few years. “However, we have devised a viable plan to resolve this issue,” Qureshi added. He said 1,000 of the total 2,000-acre phase-1 sapphire bay housing project had been acquired (with possession) and efforts were under way to get the remaining as early as possible.

In August 2020, the then prime minister, Imran Khan, had laid the foundation stone of the Ravi project. With construction of barrages and revival of the river, the project’s urban design consists of three phases -- Phase-I spreads over around 45,000 acre, Phase-II over around 34,000 acre and Phase-III 24,000 acre. The project envisages 12 cities in phases -- Medical City, Residential City, Government and Finance City, Innovation City, Knowledge City, Mix Use, Sports City, Tourism and Entertainment City, Eco City, Commercial City, Urban Farms and Downtown.

In November last year, Ruda claimed to have signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth USD 1.4 billion with various companies including a Dubai-based firm at Dubai Expo for the establishment of Eco City, Innovation City and other environment-friendly schemes of the project. Under the MoU signed with a Dubai-based company, the firm agreed to invest $500 million.

The other MoUs signed, according to Ruda, included construction of a theme park and promotion of tourist activities, besides establishment of an industrial zone.

CBD PROJECT: National Logistics Cell (NLC) Director General Maj Gen Yousaf Jamal visited the Central Business District Project to review infrastructural work in progress these days.

Punjab Central Business District Development Authority Chief Operating Officer retired Brig Mansoor Janjua, Riaz Hussain, Executive Director Technical and others were also present.

The DG was given a detailed briefing on the progress of the ongoing construction work by Mr Hussain.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022

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