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SCP Allows Govt To Resume Work On Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project

SCP Allows Govt To Resume Work On Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project

Islamabad: Govt. To Resume Work On Ravi Riverfront Development Project. The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Monday suspended the Lahore High Court’s decision and allowed the government to continue work on a mega-urban development project namely Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project. However, the area where the Lahore High Court in its decision last week termed the project illegal and in violation of the rights of the citizens. The court further said that the execution of such a huge urban development project without any master plan was illegal. Moreover, depriving the landowners of their agricultural land for the sake of urbanization was also illegitimate. The government on the other hand believes that the Ravi Riverfront Urbanization is the second planned city after Islamabad and the project would also reduce population pressure on Lahore besides management of Ravi River and job creation. PM Imran Khan had also visited the site of the project right after the LHC decision and decided to fight the case in the apex court in a better way as he believed the legal team of the government couldn’t explain to the LHC the real image of the mega project in a true sense.

Span over an area of 46 KM, the PM announced the Project is worth around 20 billion USD. The project includes commercial areas, schooling, health, and all basic amenities that were meant for supporting urbanization in the Provincial metropolis. The PM said in a video on the site of the project, “ The project is not about establishing housing societies, but creating a new planned city after Islamabad”. The government has long been trying to convert the mega-development project into reality whereas the landowners were of the view that they were being deprived of their precious agricultural land for construction and housing. Moreover, the land-use change would also create an environmental issue in the area.

The LHC had given its verdict in favor of the landowners and termed the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Authority (RUDA) unconstitutional and asked the government to return in two months the Rs 5 billion loan acquire from Punjab Government in this regard. Supreme Court however while hearing a petition filed by the Punjab government allowed the government to restart development activities in the areas where the citizens have been compensated. The appeal of the Punjab government through Punjab Advocate General Ahmed Awais stated that RUDA Ordinance has already adopted the Master Plan of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and environment Assessment Impact has already been ensured whereas the LHC scrapped the USD 20 billion project declaring certain provisions of RUDA Act unconstitutional.

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