Private sector technology park planned for Lahore

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Staff Reporter

The Area Development Plan rules recently promulgated by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), seem to be gaining traction, by allowing developers to plan innovative large projects along main arteries of Lahore, instead of illegal and unsightly strip development in vogue so far.

In a recent meeting of the LDA governing body, two projects of 101 Kanals and 88 Kanals were approved. Zaamin Group from Lahore, developer of a private housing scheme, Zaamin City, has announced intention of setting up 3 Technology Parks on about 150 Kanals each to support the government efforts to increase IT exports to 10 Billion dollars per annum over next 5 years. The Prime Minister has set up a Special Technology Zone Authority and has announced incentives for development of Technology Zones. In a recent conference, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI) President, Mr. Haroon Rashid suggested that Pakistan needs to bring 5-10 million square feet space quickly underutilization.

According to statement issued by Zaamin Group, Zaamin Technology Parks in Lahore will be purely private sector initiative with no financial assistance required from the government. According to statement, the construction industry represented by ABAD is grateful to the government for creating enabling environment. Now it is up to private sector to carry the ball. According to Engr. Akber Sheikh, Chairman of Zaamin Group, land for all three Zones has already been procured. For the first zone, located at Raiwind Road near Ali Town, Metro Station, permission from Lahore Development Authority (LDA) for setting up a Technology Park has already been obtained. Now detailed designs will be submitted under LDA recently approved Area Development Plan rules. According to Engr. Akber Sheikh, it is these rules that make private sector’s business model feasible. “These parks will be developed on a hub and spoke concept, where, instead of one very large park, parks on 100 – 200 Kanals will be constructed and connected to either self-developed or with some technology related institutions, government or private, which will act as the hub. After Lahore, similar facilities are planned in Multan area and Rawalpindi area also, thus covering south, central and northern Punjab. If there is good response, we can adopt a franchise model, sharing expertise gained to other provinces also”, Engineer Akber Sheikh has stated.