Lahore: The project, dubbed the “world’s largest riverfront modern metropolis,” has been accused of rampant land grabs by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, which has championed it. Hundreds of thousands of farmers are facing eviction because they could never afford to live in the modern metropolitan dream.
Many fear that the construction, which is being developed on a 40,000-hectare (100,000-acre) site near to Lahore, will devastate the Ravi river, which is now undergoing ecological restoration, and the surrounding forests, in addition to the human cost.
According to the government, the new city will provide a local and international tourism alternative to London and Dubai, as well as create millions of employment and relieve land strain in Lahore.
Khan has expressed his support for the project, calling it “critical” to Pakistan’s prosperity. According to the government, $8 billion in foreign money has been invested in the project, with China being the largest investor.
The Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) was founded last year to manage the city’s implementation. However, in a “draconian and unprecedented” action, the government granted Ruda entire legal protection, ensuring that no litigation or legal challenge could be made against him.
Even though Ravi Riverfront will be a commercial venture, the government has used Section 4, which allows it to legitimately acquire any land for public reasons.
Thousands of farmers and locals on the land where the city will be built have congregated in recent months to express their disapproval. The Punjab state government retaliated by charging 90 of the farmers who were protesting.