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SAHIWAL: The Lahore High Court’s Multan Bench has sought within three weeks a report and para-wise comments from respondents on the complaint of six people about potential hazards of a power plant project.

Justice Aminuddin Khan heard the writ petition that challenges potential environment impact on the inhabitants after the establishment of proposed 1,320MW coal-fired power plant at Qadirabad’s village 76/5-R.

The petition has been filed through Chaudhry Abdul Sattar Goraya and Muhammad Masood Bilal by Muhammad Awais (a resident of Chak 65/5-L), Rana Asghar Ali Khan (Chak 62/4-R), Azmat Ali (Chak 77/5-R), Bashir Ahmed (76/5-R) and Shahid Kamran (Chak No 77/5-R). Muhammad Awais Tarrar, president of the Al-Khidmat Foundation, is the main petitioner.

The petitioners said the Punjab Power Development Board (PPDB) on behalf of the provincial government acquired 1,002 acres near Qadirabad for a 1,320MW power plant under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. They said the project was being undertaken in violation of ‘Environmental Protection Law and Guidelines of 1997’ and the plant was proposed to be built on a site having fertile agricultural land with livestock and canal water.

“About six million metric ton annual consumption of coal under super critical boilers will make ashes spread to surrounding environment which will directly affect the small pores of leaves and damage growing plants, trees and ecology. Besides, the increase of carbon dioxide and hydrogen chloride will affect the lungs of people living in surrounding 50-100km areas causing coughing, asthma, chest pain and inflammation of respiratory tract.

“It will cause soil contamination because of spilling of oil and the agriculture canal water contamination of two watercourses running on right sides of the Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC) where plant waste would be thrown,” read the petition.

The petition also gave reference of the District Bar Association resolution asking the Punjab government to shift the plant location from fertile agriculture land to some barren land.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had laid the foundation of the power plant on May 30, 2014. The $1.5 billion investment project is scheduled to complete in two and-a-half years. Although before the ceremony an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report was produced and a public hearing upon that report was done, local residents and stakeholders object that their concerns had not been addressed.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2015

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