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A Review of Ravi River Urban Development Project Lahore

Prime Minister Imran Khan officially launched “Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project” in Lahore on Friday, August 07, 2020. This is an ambitious development project with an approximate cost of 5 trillion rupees, i.e. 5000 billion rupees. This project was envisioned in 1949, but has since been pending due to disinterest of consecutive governments in such a large scale urban development project that would require a huge budget and about 3 decades to materialize.

Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project is the need of Today’s Lahore and it will help resolve the critical issues like water scarcity, horizontal expansion of the city on agricultural lands, environmental hazards as well as it will spur economic activities by creating thousands of new jobs and attracting local and overseas investments.

You can mark the location of this project in Lahore on the following map:

Ravi River Project Location

As you can see on the map attached above, the project spreads across Lahore from GT Road to Motor M-2 and beyond and it runs along the Ravi River. 

Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has assigned the task of Urban Planning and Design of River Ravi Project to Meinhardt Group, Singapore. The consultant has disclosed the following information about the project plan and their development targets:

The proposed RRUDP will extend over an area of about 414 km2 and will be implemented over 30 years period in three phases. The above analysis supported the feasibility of having twelve sectors in RRUDP, namely: Medical City, Residential, Mix-use, Urban Farms, Downtown, Commercial City, Innovation City, Government / Financial City, Tourism, Central City, Knowledge City, Echo-City and Sports City.

The environmental and social impact assessment highlighted the positive impacts of the project such as economic uplifting of the region and country, improved quality of life, socioeconomic and lifestyle enhancement, ecological uplifting of River Ravi, sustainable lifestyle, tourism and flood protection. There will also be some negative impacts (such as loss of agricultural lands of about 76,684 acres and impact on almost 65 settlements that include 20,723 households with the population of 80,000 along with their assets during project implementation and operational stages. However, these are expected to be temporary in nature and can be mitigated as suggested in EIA and SIA reports.

Following are some planning and design images of RRUDP Lahore:

Under this project, following projects will be planned and developed in Lahore:

  • Eco-friendly modern facilities will be developed for education, health, government institutions, commercial activities, sports and many other purpose built centers. That will include Knowledge City, Medical City, Sports City, Innovation City and Financial City.
  • It will promote different activities like Education, Culture, Technology, Sports and Business, and create jobs.
  • 46 KM long lake will be developed that will help control floods as well as maintain the underground water table in Lahore.
  • Three barrages will be constructed on River Ravi that will store approximately 271 Billion Litres of water. 
  • Filtration plants to be installed to make Ravi water potable. Sewerage treatment plants will be installed to treat waste water before draining into Ravi River.  
  • Six million trees will be planted to create an urban forest. It will not only help reduce pollution in Lahore, but also help secure natural habitat.

As we know that Lahore is one of the most rapidly expanding city in Pakistan, and due to horizontal expansion, large swathes of agricultural land have been developed into housing schemes. If this expansion continues, we will end up with a serious shortage of food in the years to come due to shortage of arable land.

Due to mega infrastructure projects in Lahore over time, more than 70% of natural greenery has been destroyed which has caused air pollution and smog issue in Lahore. An urban forest project will help mitigate these issues, control rising temperature, as well as add to the beauty of Lahore.

It is important to note here that River Ravi is not a housing project, but a modern urban development project to help promote commercial activities. The government has just launched this project, but it will take some time before complete land is acquired and each development project is designed and approved for development. 

As Prime Minister mentioned in his speech, the government cannot invest in this mega development project. Therefore, private investors including overseas Pakistanis will be invited for making investments in different development projects under this scheme. The government is hoping that a large sum of black money could be invested in this project before 31st December 2020 due to lenient policies of FBR.

The government has also established Ravi River Urban Development Authority that will solely focus on the development tasks related to this particular project. This authority will work under supervision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, so that this project will not succumb to conventional slowdown tactics.

Following is the introductory video of River Ravi Urban Development Project:

You may watch the following program on River Ravi Project by Kamran Khan on Dunya News to get detailed information on the project:

Towards the end, we would like to add that this is a very important project for our economy and for Lahore. The government must leave no stone unturned in streamlining all relevant departments to resolve any issues hindering progress on this project. There are serious question marks on the capabilities of this government of handling mega projects, because they have announced several development projects over the past 2 years but nothing has practically happened on ground ever since. 

The government must review the performance of each relevant department, and make necessary decisions on time to jump start mega development projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar so that economic activities can revive in the country.

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