Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill made it clear on Thursday that there was no plan of taking any loan for carrying out the landmark Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project in Lahore. “You have heard of many projects in the past like Orange Line, Metro, Balloki, Bhikki and others, but all of them involved loans. In this entire project, there is no involvement of loan,” said the SAPM in a news conference. Flanked by Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Vice Chairman Shaikh Muhammad Imran and Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) Chairman Imran Amin, he said the project would be the first-ever green city of the country and set the highest example of sustainability in the realms of development. Briefing about the progress of the project, the SAPM said a consortium of 13 reputable companies won bidding for developing its ‘Sapphire Bay’, being built under the first phase of the river-front project. The agreement with the consortium in that regard would be signed next week, he added. He said massive forestation, seven treatment plants and three barrages would be built under the first phase, planned over 2,000 acres. Citing the example of Islamabad, he said the development of Federal Capital was started on only 80,000 acres of land, adding this project would have 29 sectors and span over 102,000 acres with a major focus on mitigating environmental issues, water shortage and unplanned development in the area. It would have state-of-the-art educational institutions, healthcare facilities, innovation and technology centres, sports ground, he said while regretting the less focus of previous governments on such initiatives, which were being taken across the globe for development purposes. He said that seven treatment plants and three barrages would be built in the city to overcome the water shortage and to improve the water table in Lahore city. He was of the view that barrages would help save the city from the flood in case India released the water during monsoon season. Shahbaz Gill said that 8 local and three international universities had expressed their interest to set up their campus in the new city. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was taking keen interest in the first green and environmentally friendly project and conducted over 70 meetings till date. The SAPM said the studies were carried out during the tenure of previous governments, but it was only Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had been advocating planned development in the country for the last several years, finally decided to materialize the project. LDA Vice-Chairman Shaikh Muhammad Imran said that Ravi River Front Urban Development Project aimed at rehabilitating the city of Lahore, meeting the needs of a growing population, reducing water scarcity and boosting economic activities throughout the province, including Lahore. He said the project would not only fulfill socio-economic needs of the city of Lahore, but also create immense job opportunities for the people.