Rashid Aziz
file photo

LAHORE, Feb 28 (APP): Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) Chairman Rashid Aziz has said that creation of the Ravi Riverfront city is a matter of survival and sustainability of the historic city of Lahore, and its dwellers should support the project beyond personal biases.

In an interview with APP here on Sunday, he said that one of the major challenges facing Lahore was provision of clean drinking water for ever-increasing population of the metropolis after the groundwater levels receded at an alarming rate.

He regretted that the past governments failed to address the issue on permanent basis.

The RUDA chairman said that River Ravi had turned into a sewerage nullah after the closure of the river water by India and dumping of waste of the city into the river-bed over the years, adding that the river life had almost extinguished due to absence of biological oxygen demand (BOD).

“Similarly water is a threat if the Indian government releases water from the two dams, built on Ravi Ravi. The water may leave the city of Lahore flooded if steps are not taken to avert the threat of water aggression,” he added. He said that Ravi Riverfront city provided a viable solution to these challenges.

To a question, the RUDA chief said the new city was being developed for reviving the Rive Ravi, developing a lake, building three barrages and recharging the groundwater for the city of Lahore. He said that the 46-kilometre long lake would be the longest watercourse in the world, adding that the 15-kilometre part of the lake would be completed by the start of 2023.

“With the construction of three barrages and 46-kilometre-long lake, Lahore will become safe from floods for good,” he believed.

He said water treatment plants would treat water, which would be used for irrigating agricultural lands and help restore the groundwater levels of the city.

About the protest by the area people, Rashid Aziz said that whenever and wherever the governments acquire land, people try to get their lands to be assessed at a higher rate, adding that the reservations of the locals would be amicably addressed and the city would be built as per plans.

He said Lahorites also need to understand that Ravi Riverfront city was not a housing scheme, but a whole new city, which could be compared with any modern city of the world.

He said that Ravi city would be the second planned city of the country after the federal capital Islamabad. “Ravi urban development is not a housing project but a whole new city to be built on an area of 103,271 acres of land and developed on modern lines,” he added.

Rashid Aziz sees the idea of the new city not only a great decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan but also a saviour project, which would provide longevity to Lahore.

He said the project was started in 2014 by the then PML-N government, but was shelved immediately for being too tall an order for the timid rulers, adding that Prime Minister is a wholly different ruler who always thinks big and believes in achieving the impossible.

The RUDA chairman believes the new city would give a new life to the city of Lahore, which had been suffering from environmental, administrative and climate challenges for over two decades now.