LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Tuesday said that it was a historic event that Prime Minister Imran Khan has laid the foundation stone of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Project as the dream of the largest project in the history of the country is being materialized today.

Addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of Ravi Riverfront Urban Project at Kala Khatai, the Chief Minister lamented that the past government paid attention to exhibitory projects.

“The plan of this project was envisaged seven years ago but the past rulers could not start it because the projects aimed at bringing real changes in public lives were not their priorities.  

The River Ravi which once was a beautiful identity of the historic city of Lahore has turned into a filthy nullah but no one has cared about it.  Similarly, the underground water level has been drastically lowered in Lahore”, he observed,

The CM said that the government will develop a 46-kilometre long lake in the bed of River Ravi. It is an environment-friendly project and more than 6 million planted trees will considerably reduce environmental pollution. Along with it, a barrage and wastewater treatment plant will also be installed for water and the rainwater will be stored in the lake, he added. 

The lake will not only improve the aqua system of the river but the underground water level will also be recharged. 

Around one billion litres water of the lake will help recharge underground water table and this will also result in improving the climate.

Dream of largest project in history of country being materialised, says Buzdar  

The CM stated that 12 specialised cities will be developed in Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project spreading over 46 kilometres and 90 per cent locally manufactured material will be utilised in it. 

This project will strengthen the economy besides creating lakhs of new job opportunities. This project will be an avant-garde initiative for policymakers of the future, he said and added that an autonomous authority has been set up which will formulate its rules and regulations independently and no one could interfere in it. 

Work will be done speedily on this project in the next three years and a new city will be developed, the CM concluded.    

Bakht presents 2-year departmental 

report to CM

Provincial Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the 2-year performance report to Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office.

The CM appreciated the performance and directed that austerity policy should be strictly implemented along-with observance of financial discipline and a further cut in unnecessary expenditures be ensured. 

The Finance Department adopted an effective strategy to deal with the corona challenge and ensured funds for development projects along-with provision of additional resources to the Health Department to deal with the virus, he said. Meanwhile, a tax relief package worth more than Rs 56.5 billion was given to stabilise the economy. 

He added that billions of rupees were provided to the corona affectees under Insaf Imdad Programme and tax ratio on more than 20 services were decreased from 16 % to 5 %. Meanwhile, the stamp duty ratio was decreased from 5 % to 1 % in urban localities and online payment of more than 12 government taxes was ensured through e-Punjab mobile/internet application. 

He said that a provisional provincial finance commission has been constituted and the government is implementing new programmes to bring ease in the lives of the common man. 

The CM stressed that relieving the indigent strata of the economic burden through Ehsas Punjab Programme is the mission of the government. 

The government has also initiated a unique programme to create ease of doing business, the CM concluded.

The Finance Minister stated that additional funds’ requests worth Rs14.5 billion have been rejected by the Cabinet Standing Committee for Finance and Development while the finance department rejected requests worth Rs 75.58 billion during the two years. Meanwhile, 75 new branches of the Bank of Punjab (BoP) have been opened. 

The Bank of Punjab earned Rs12.0 billion profit in 2018 while Rs14.0 billion profit was earned in 2019 which is the highest profit of the said bank. 

On the other side, administrative matters of public sector companies have been rectified. The financial audit has been conducted and business plans are also designed to increase their resources, the Minister added. Secretary Finance was also present on this occasion.