LAHORE - Punjab government is all set to revive an old urban development project of the PML-N government to develop the riverfront of River Ravi on the modern theme.

Sprawling over hundreds of acres, this ambitious scheme will have a number of residential and commercial zones, medical city and forest reserve besides a central business district.

The previous PML-N government had shelved the project in 2013 as it failed to attract the required foreign investment amounting to $7.5 billion.  The new City would be developed on the pattern of River Thames that runs through London.

In this connection, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar on Thursday presided over a meeting at his office to review proposals for building the new city alongside the River Ravi. DG LDA Sumair Ahmed Saeed gave a briefing about the proposed project.

The chief minister directed to constitute a high-level steering committee comprising of federal and provincial government departments and other stakeholders to review and examine the proposed plan and submit its recommendations. He also directed to work out recommendations for developing a new city around any other district except Lahore adding that alternate model should be worked out instead of focusing on any particular city for building the new city. “Building new cities is important in the wake of population increase”, he said.

Housing Minister Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority, Chief Secretary, Vice Chairman LDA, SMBR, Chairman P&D and others attended the meeting.

Originally conceived in 2013, the project, spreading over 44,817 acres and running along the River in a northeast-southwest direction, will set a new centre of the City in the districts of Lahore and Sheikhupura. As per the original plan, the new City would be developed on both sides of the riverbank along a 33-kilometre long stretch contiguous to Lahore district’s northern and western boundaries.

The government is also considering a proposal to sell over 25,000 acres of riverfront to investors for business and cultural activities.

Prime Minster Imran Khan is also taking keen interest in this project. He also got a briefing about the project from Lahore Development Authority Vice Chairman S M Imran and LDA Director General Sumair Ahmad Syed last month. He was told that feasibility studies about this multi-billion-rupee project had been conducted during last tenure of the PML-N government.

In anticipation of foreign visitors coming to visit the new City, it has been proposed to give it a Mughal aura by replicating some old architectural designs.