The launch of mega projects

Within two days, the country has launched as many trillion rupee projects. On Thursday, the executive committee of the National Economic Council approved a project for improvement of the vital railway line construction estimated at Rs1.137 trillion and on Friday Prime Minister Imran Khan has laid the foundation stone of the Ravi City project. The Rs5 trillion Ravi City project aims at creating stimulus to the economy in terms of job creation besides boosting 40 industries connected to the construction sector. The progress shows that the government is well determined to come out of the pandemic-hit economic slowdown. The prime minister also told the bureaucracy to make the project a success. He has deployed a team for the project to identify and resolve resistance and roadblocks created by procedural works. Those were the times when Imran Khan, then an opposition leader, would blast development projects a waste of wealth, and would insist on human development. He, however, cleared his point that said the wealth generated from development projects would be spent on education and health of people. Urban housing also remains a pressing issue and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf pledged 50 million houses once into power. More schemes like the Ravi River Upfront are needed to stop the spread of unplanned urban sprawl and raise the water table and revive the River Ravi. The river presents a nulla look, and the nulla of sewage and untreated water. The new scheme addresses the environmental issues as waste water would be treated before being released into the Ravi to improve ground water table. Moreover, a forest area of six million trees will be grown around the river.

The multi-billion dollars project will be developed along the 46km stretch of the river. It is however, yet to be seen if the project will cater to the needs of lower middle and low-income class or not. In recent times, all real estate projects are mostly for the wealthy people. The government needs to come up with a well-thought-out master plan for eco-revitalisation of the Ravi River basin instead of coming up with a water treatment plant. The government should also consider the land cost along the river and if this is beyond the paying capacity of the common man, the development work is a futile exercise. The answer to these concerns lies in a new Lahore Master Plan. *

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