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LAHORE: An amount of Rs24 billion has so far been invested in the first phase of Central Business District (CBD) project which will provide world class business centre and accommodation facilities in the heart of provincial capital of Lahore.

This was revealed during a briefing given to Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the Central Business District on Friday where he reviewed the progress on the project.

The PM was also informed that more investment worth billions of rupees is expected through auction of seven more development sites of the project.

The project completion will not only create employment opportunities but also help increase investment in the country besides increasing the country’s revenue by Rs 1,500 billion. In addition, measures such as environmental protection, green roofs, urban parks and rainwater harvesting are part of the project which also includes the completion of Bab-e-Pakistan project and the transfer of Walton Airport.

The PM was briefed on the successful auction and the related development work of Lahore Prime alongwith the upcoming auction of seven new mixed use commercial plots.

As a result of the auction of Lahore Prime, the government got revenue upto Rs 24 billion and the construction of these buildings will also create innumerable employment and business opportunities, the PM was informed in the briefing.

The premier was further briefed on the new auction of ‘Lahore Downtown’ which is expected in late February, as a result of which, seven mixed used commercial plots will be auctioned. Investors are already showing great interest in Lahore downtown and the government is expected to earn significant revenue from the said auction.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lahore Central Business District Development Authority Imran Amin said, “Projects like the Central Business District in Pakistan are extremely vital for revival of dead capital, urban regeneration through sustainable vertical development and creation of jobs and business opportunities.

The CBD Punjab is making great progress in attracting investment which is reflected in the successful auction of Lahore Prime. Rupees 1,500 billion are expected from this project. We are looking forward for the success of second phase, the Lahore Downtown.”

Among others, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Minister of Information & Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms & Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood, SAPM on Political Commutation Dr Shahbaz Gill, Minister of Estate for Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, PM Advisor for Commerce & Investment Razak Dawood, Chairman NAPHDA Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider, Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Ali Afzal were present.

Earlier, the premier told media during his visit to Rakh Jhok Forest at Sheikhupura that there was a misconception that the Ravi Urban project was a housing society. As a matter of fact, this grand project is aimed at correcting the faults in the wake of unplanned construction of the city, he added.

Regarding the Lahore High Court’s decision against the Ravi Urban Development Project, the PM said he respected the judiciary and its verdicts, and thought that the Ravi Urban Development project case was not properly contested at the high court level. The government will plead this case in the Supreme Court in a better manner and apprise the court about the significance of the project in view of urban development and civic facilities.

Highlighting the salient features of the project, he said, plantation of 20 million trees through forestation, construction of sites to raise water table and filtration of sewerage are part of the project. He said the $20 billion project would provide employment and encourage foreign investment and already Rs1.5 billion had been received in this regard. “We need to set up new cities in view of the growing population, otherwise, we will not be able to provide civic facilities to people,” he said.

He mentioned that Lahore in near future could face similar civic problems like Karachi as result of unplanned urban development. This project is very crucial keeping in view the speedy growth of Lahore City and it will be the second planned city after Islamabad, he added. He regretted that the Sindh government did not allow construction at Bundal Island which was also a mega project in line with planned development of cities. He said the media should raise awareness amongst the public about this project.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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