A four-member delegation from Pakistan on Monday visited the Sabarmati Riverfront (SR) project, to replicate it in Lahore on river Ravi. The visit is touted to be on the behest of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after he learnt about the major development initiative undertaken by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
"We have come here to study the good practices followed in the project, as the conditions here and in Lahore are almost similar," Lahore Commissioner Rashid Mehmood Langrial, who heads the delegation, told reporters after his visit to the riverfront in Paldi area here.
"We have been studying riverfront development projects in different parts as we found that conditions here and back in our country were similar, so we came here to study the project. River Ravi is also not a perennial river (like Sabarmati). Developing such a riverfront here is a good gift given to the city of Ahmedabad by the AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation)," he told reporters.
"We will study the environment impact, water level requirement (as Ravi and Sabarmati are not perennial rivers), structural details and learn from the experience here," he said. AMC officials explained them about the project at length. The delegation members also took a high speed boat ride on the Sabarmati river.
"They have come here to study our riverfront development project. They would like to develop the same kind of project back there in Lahore. They will stay here for two days," AMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner M Thenerassan said. The delegation comprises Langrial, Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director-General Ahad Khan Cheema, LDA's strategic policy unit chief Moazzam Sipra and Mustafa Kamal Chaudhry, a technical expert/consultant on urban infrastructure projects.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had shown interest in the SR project after he learnt about it and started pushing the officials to visit it at the earliest. Earlier, police detained 10 members of Shiv Sena who had come to protest the visit of the Pakistani delegation to Sabarmati Riverfront.
Shiv Sena's Ashok Sharma said, "On one hand our border posts are coming under fire from Pakistani forces, while on the other hand red carpets are laid for delegations of that country. We protest against it."
The Sabarmati Riverfront project has reclaimed private river edge land and developed it as an environment improvement, social uplift and urban rejuvenation project.