LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the ambitious Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project will be bankrolled by a combination of public and private partnership, with the most substantial contribution coming from overseas Pakistanis — the country’s “greatest asset”.
“The biggest contribution will be made through our greatest asset — our overseas Pakistanis,” said the Prime Minister at a groundbreaking ceremony here on Tuesday, according to Geo News.
Prime Minister Khan said the project will be a “reflection of Naya Pakistan”, which will address the burgeoning issues of Lahore — the contamination of the Ravi River and rapid depletion of ground water — while stimulating economic activities.
He said the water issues of Lahore have been worsening rapidly. Sewage was being drained out in the Ravi River, polluting its water and giving rise to different diseases, he added. The Prime Minister said: “Its (Lahore) growth is unsustainable and it consists of about 40 per cent slums as no one ever thought about them.”
The Premier expressed the confidence that the new project would have a clean waterfront and a lake, which would also recharge its fast-depleting water table. Water treatment plants would be set up under the project to clean the dirty water, which would rejuvenate the Ravi River, he added.
The Prime Minister said the project, which would be completed under a private-public partnership, conceives a “modern and green city” with different clusters of IT and education sectors. “Once completed, other cities will emulate its design,” the Prime Minister added.
He also referred to Singapore, where dark river waters were purified with the use of state-of-the-art technology.
“The people who have big dreams and ideals always face hurdles but they never feel bogged down with the problems,” he added. “For change, we have to go for belt-tightening, but it does not mean that one cannot dream big,” he added.
The Prime Minister further said for achievement of big ideals, one had to “burn the boats” as it was imperative to tap the full potential. “Judge a person by what he aspires to be,” the Prime Minister said.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, speaking on the occasion, said the project would spread over a 46km area with a capacity of storing 600,000 cusecs water with three barrages. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, federal ministers, provincial ministers, foreign dignitaries, members of provincial assembly and other officials were present during the ceremony.
Earlier, the Prime Minister broke ground on the project, where he said the establishment of a new city was much needed requirement of not only Lahore, but also of the whole country.