The Lahore High Court has summoned the master plan of the River Ravi Urban Development Project from the government, along with the minutes of the meetings and other records.
At a hearing on Friday, the petitioner, Advocate Waqar A Sheikh, told the court that the master plan was never prepared.
"A notification, issued by the Punjab government on October 8, to acquire the land was illegal," another lawyer, Advocate Sheeraz Zaka said.
Consequently, the judge instructed the state prosecutor, Barrister Ali Zafar, to present the master plan but he failed to do so. "How is it possible that the master plan is not present in the case record?" Justice Shahid Karim said.
The way the government is handling the case, it looks like the project will never be completed, he pointed out, adding that according to the law a master plan has to be prepared first, and then the land should be acquired.
A petition against the River Ravi project was filed by Hassan Ali Ranjha, a resident of T & T Abpara Housing Society. He asked for the government to take steps against smog and stop the ‘illegal construction’ along the river.
"Large swathes of agricultural land is likely to be gobbled up which would further hamper the biological diversity keeping in view Convention on Biological Diversity and public trust doctrine," it stated.
Ravi Riverfront Urban Development project
The Ravi UrbanDevelopment Authority was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in August 2020. He claimed that the project will save Lahore.
If we want to save Lahore, this project needs to be made, he said, adding that without it, Lahore would have to face water problems that Karachi is facing today. “The pollution level in Lahore has surpassed the danger level which can impact the health of people,” he said.
On December 4, 2020, the PM was informed that the Frontier Works Organisation and the National Logistics Cell have started the work on the project.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar approved a Rs5 billion loan for the project during a cabinet meeting on December 18, 2020. The money will be used to purchase the land.