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ISLAMABAD: The establishment of first-ever Central Business District (CBD) in Lahore would generate revenue of 1,500 billion rupees and create 250,000 jobs, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill said on Thursday.

The project would cover an area of 1,600 kanals and it is being launched without relying on any loan, he said while addressing a presser along with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) Imran Amin.

Under this project, the auction of five plots generated income of Rs 21.58 billion, he said.

"In the past, prime state land in Lahore was auctioned at only Rs 100 million per kanal, compared to Rs 420 million per kanal auctioned by this government," he said.

Up to five international companies participated in the bidding process, Gill said, adding that the development work on CBD had already started. Like Lahore, the CBDs would be set up in Faisalabad, Multan and Rawalpindi, he apprised.

The infrastructure for the CBD in Lahore would be developed in a year, Gill added.

"There has been unbridled and unplanned expansion of cities across the country that has created enormous problems. The new policy would take care of all these issues," the PM's aide said.

The federal government, he said, is working on a comprehensive policy regarding construction sector, the SAPM said, adding that the government already took significant steps to incentivise the housing and construction sectors. As part of these incentives, loans worth Rs 10 billion were provided to applicants in the last three months only while the processes of loan approval for housing were streamlined and simplified, Gill claimed.

Earlier, the ratio of housing loan approval was only 3.17 per cent which has now jumped to 40 percent, he further claimed. Likewise, he said, the ratio of loan disbursement was only 2 percent which has now jumped to 20 percent. "In past, the focus of the governments was not public welfare, but cosmetic projects that proved to be enormous burden on national exchequer without yielding results.

The government is giving a subsidy of Rs 12 billion a year on projects like Metro Bus and Orange Line. But, the projects being launched by this government would generate enormous income that would be spent on the welfare of the masses. Prime Minister Imran Khan is personally monitoring these projects," Gill said.

The projects like CBD and River Ravi have been launched following international standards followed worldwide, the SAPM maintained. "These initiatives would change the fate of the people of Pakistan," he claimed.

Gill 'complained' to media that his anti-opposition pressers were given wider coverage but those about development projects were ignored by media. He said the launch of River Ravi project would create employment opportunities not only for general public but also for the information media personnel.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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