There is something peculiar about the river Ravi. Most residents of Lahore even do not realise just how closely tied the river is to the City’s history and essence. The mighty river once flowed along the walls of the Lahore fort, but has over the centuries and decades been diverted away from the main city and has found a course away from the outskirts of Lahore.
But as Lahore has expanded, the fate of the Ravi has been fraught since partition. With the water supply often stopped and opened by the Indian authorities across the border, the Ravi has become a hollow shell of its former self these days. And because it is dry for a large part of the year and regularly changes course, a lot of people own agricultural land “underneath” the river so to speak.
While this has been a peculiarity, one thing no one could have guessed was that this would result in people being defrauded in the name of housing societies. As part of the Ravi Project, when the government was acquiring land, many of the people whose land was under the river were offered files for 7 Marla plots of land in exchange for selling their land. These limited files are now being used to propagate a scam that is trying to get people to invest in files that do not exist.
The biggest problem here is that the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA), has time and again repeated warnings that no files or housing societies are currently supposed to be selling land in the project, despite which the land continues to be sold.
What is the Ravi Urban Project?
Expansive, ambitious, and controversial, the Ravi Project had been envisioned as a strange sort of solution to Lahore’s growing population woes. The project runs along the river Ravi, as the name suggests, includes the construction of a 41,308-hectare (102,074-acre) planned city and the rehabilitation of the Ravi River into a perennial freshwater body. When (more importantly if) it is finished it will be the largest riverfront of the world.
The idea for the project has been around since 1947, when the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore suggested it. Back then, however, there was still a lot that the outskirts of Lahore clearly had to offer.