Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday terming the Ravi Urban Development Project one of the mega projects in the country’s history, said the venture would create millions of jobs, besides paying off the national debt. “It will create millions of jobs as 40 industries are connected to housing and construction and (will) create wealth, enabling us to start paying off our national debt,” he said in a series of tweets as he laid the foundation stone of the project in Lahore earlier in the day. The prime minister said, “He felt great excitement in doing stone-laying of Ravi City, one of the biggest mega projects we have launched in our history.” He regarded the project “vital” to save Lahore, currently struggling with serious civic issues. “This will save Lahore by stopping spread of unplanned urban sprawl, raise water table and revive Ravi River, preventing it from becoming a sewerage nala (nullah),” he said Imran Khan said the Ravi city project would also bring in foreign exchange through investment by overseas Pakistanis in the project. Iman Khan on Friday launched a Rs 5 trillion Ravi Urban Development Project to revive the lost glory of Lahore, struggling with the problems of pollution, sewerage and water shortage. “The project will rehabilitate and develop the dying River Ravi into a perennial freshwater body, with high-quality waterfront urban development. The modern city will have all facilities for its dwellers, besides a forest area to be planted with six million trees.” Imran Khan said the project would be the second largest planned city in Pakistan, after Islamabad. He said over the past few decades, Lahore witnessed deterioration in all civic services due to irregular expansion of the city, including waste disposal, provision of clean drinking water, electricity and gas, communication etc. He pointed out that the pollution in Lahore rose to an alarming level, obstructing sunlight in winters with the people suffering serious breathing problems. Imran Khan regretted that the grand River Ravi that once traversed through the city, eventually shrunk into a sewerage nullah. He expressed the hope that the new project that was abandoned for years, would restore the water table of Lahore that had dropped by 800 feet in 15 years. He said barrages in the Ravi would be constructed and sewerage treatment plants along the river would be installed to feed clean water into the river. He said the new city, which would have high-rise buildings in vertical dimension to optimally utilise the land space, would be completed with the collaboration of private investors. He invited the overseas Pakistanis to benefit from the grand opportunity. The people might invest in the construction sector till December 31, 2020 , as Pakistan had been given relaxation on international obligations regarding documentation of the informal economy. The prime minister said the project would provide employment and generate economic activity as the construction sector was linked with 40 other industries. It would also lead to wealth creation and help in poverty alleviation and provide more resources for health, education and debt servicing. He said unlike the metro bus project of the previous government which required an annual subsidy of Rs 28 billion, the current project would be self sustaining. He said besides the new urban development project, work was progressing on the Naya Pakistan Housing project and a stage had come, where Pakistan was at a tipping point in terms of employments creation and development. Meanwhile, stressing on zero-tolerance for corruption, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday called for introducing the system of “reward and punishment” in the government departments to improve governance and public-sector performance. “Corruption always starts from the top and elite class. This is our country. We have to live and die here. We have to correct the system for future generations. Improved governance is vital for the country’s development,” he added. The prime minister was addressing, through video-link, the civil officers of Punjab, including the secretaries of administrative departments, commissioners, deputy commissioners and regional police officers. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Chief Secretary and Inspector General of Police were also present on the occasion. The prime minister said the country could make progress by following principles of the State of Madina, which ensured rule of law, protection of weaker segments and promotion of education. Officers had very important role in the achievement of that objective, he said. “Be empathetic with the poor. Do away with the Thana Culture and adopt the policy of public service.” The prime minister appreciated the Punjab administration for taking effective measures during the coronavirus pandemic. “You will not face any political pressure. Follow merit. I stand with every officer who will follow merit,” he told the officers. Imran Khan said as the country’s economy remained burdened under debt, Pakistan had been facing difficult economic situation, which caused resource constraints for education, health and development projects.