Sheikhupura: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said 'the Ravi River Urban Project', besides its environmental benefits, was expected to generate $40 billion revenue for the country. The project will not only prove beneficial for Lahore, but for the entire country in addressing the environmental and financial problems, he said at the launch of the country's first-ever 'Smart Forest' near Sheikhupura under the Ravi Urban project.
The prime minister said the project would stop the sewage water seep into Punjab’s River Ravi, which ultimately flowed up to the River Indus passing through Sindh. Under the Ravi Urban project, he said, around 10 million trees would be planted besides construction of three barrages at the river. Filtration plants will ensure provision of clean water to public, he added.
He asked Chief Minister Punjan Sardar Usman Buzdar to remain undeterred amidst challenges and work towards timely completion of the project. PM Imran Khan termed water scarcity, deforestation and glacier melting biggest challenge for the country, which was among the ten most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
He said massive forestation was vital to save the country for the coming generations. If we want to hand over a green and clean Pakistan to our next generation, plantation is the foremost solution, he said. The prime minister regretted deforestation in the country over the time, terming it disastrous in terms of climate change.
He recalled that Lahore, once used to be called as City of Gardens, had turned into a polluted place with pollutants touching the hazardous levels. Therefore, the Ravi project is not only important for Lahore but for the entire country, he stressed.
The prime minister, who earlier inaugurated the Smart Forest, said the growth of every plant would be monitored in collaboration with the tech giant Huawei. He said sensors would keep a vigil on ruthless cutting of trees and expressed confidence that the project would be replicated in other parts of the country. He mentioned that in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, one billion trees had been planted and highlighted the ongoing countrywide campaign of planting ten billion trees to make the country green.
Earlier, the prime minister planted a sapling in the forest, which is first of its kind being equipped with technology sensors and surveillance systems. The Rakh Jhok Forest is a project of Ravi Urban Development Authority covering 24,000 kanals of land. Technology giant Huawei will be the smart partner in the project.