KARACHI: Bahria Town, a real estate firm, told the Sindh High Court on Tuesday that if the construction work on a flyover and two underpasses in Clifton was not immediately started before the approaching monsoon rains, it would cause irreparable harm to life and property of citizens in the vicinity.
A two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar was seized with the hearing of appeals filed by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Bahria Town against the SHC’s single bench order restraining the real estate concern from resuming construction on the project.
On April 29, construction work on the project of the flyover and underpasses was ordered to be stopped by a single bench of the SHC on a DHA lawsuit against the project. The bench had directed the KMC to obtain a mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) report from the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) on the project.
Subsequently, Bahria Town impugned the single bench’s restraining order through an appeal.
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On May 6, the KMC also joined the real estate firm in the legal battle over the construction of the project.
On Monday, the counsel for Bahria Town moved an application before the two-judge bench and stated that the Nazir of the court was appointed to inspect the construction site and the court official’s report confirmed that the construction was at a fairly advanced stage when it was stopped on the single bench’s restraining order against the construction. He said if it was not immediately started before the arrival of heavy rains expected within the next few days, it might cause irreparable harm to life and property in the vicinity.
The counsel asked the court to allow Bahria Town to resume construction at its own risk and cost and subject to the EIA report to be submitted by Sepa, which it would fully abide by.
The bench issued a notice to the DHA directing it to submit its objections on the Bahria Town application by July 17.
The DHA had contended that the construction of the mega project was made without EIA approved by Sepa.
Earlier, Farooq H. Naek, counsel for the KMC, submitted that the project would ease traffic congestion around the area of Park Towers and the shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi. He said that the project was of national importance and suspension of the work following the SHC orders was causing not only great inconvenience to the public but also a colossal loss to the KMC.
The counsel for Bahria Town contended that the SHC single bench had not taken into consideration the fact that the DHA had no locus standi to institute the lawsuit as it had no concern with the project.
The court was requested to set aside the single bench order against the construction.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2014