QUETTA: The environment protection tribunal of the Balochistan High Court has accepted for regular hearing a petition filed by former speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Mohammad Aslam Bhootani against a proposed coal-fired power plant in Hub district.

During a hearing on Monday, the tribunal also ordered that notices be issued to all the parties concerned.

Mr Bhootani filed the petition against the coal-based power plant — a joint venture of Hub Power Company Ltd (Hubco) and a Chinese firm — pleading that it could cause serious environmental issues and prove harmful for the human settlements along the coast of Gadani as well as the marine life.

The tribunal, comprising its chairman Zafar Alam Mandokhel and member Saeed Ahmed Baloch, heard the petition. The counsel for Hubco argued that the company was not part of the proposed power plant at Gadani and, therefore, it should be excluded from the petition.

However, Mr Bhootani’s lawyer, Khurshid Ahmed Khoso, produced documentary evidence showing that the company had a stake in the plant. Rejecting Hubco’s stance, the tribunal made the company party in the case, and ordered that notices be issued to all the parties. The next hearing is scheduled for Aug 15.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2017