LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Saturday sought personal appearance of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to explain his government’s position regarding provision of clean drinking water to people and disposal of large quantity of untreated waste water.
An alarming figure of untreated waste water of the city being disposed of in River Ravi was quoted by a court commission before a three-judge bench constituted by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar to summon Shahbaz.
Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were other two members of the bench, which heard a petition and suo motu notice regarding clean drinking water at Lahore registry.
Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed had no satisfactory answer when Advocate Ayesha Hamid, head of the commission, told the court that 540 million gallons of untreated waste water or sewage was being discharged in the river daily.
“Why not the chief minister should be summoned right now to explain what is happening in his Takht-i-Lahore?” the CJP asked the chief secretary.
Saeed sought time to explain the situation, but Chief Justice Nisar directed him to check if the chief minister was available to appear before the court. He also asked Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman Khan to confirm whether the chief minister was going to appear.
Later, the chief secretary returned to the court and sought time till next hearing for the CM to appear. However, the bench directed the CM to appear on Sunday (today).
CJP Nisar said the court would also ask Shahbaz under what law roads outside his Model Town residence and office had been closed for public.
Meanwhile, the bench expressed concern over a costly contract given to a private company for disposal of infectious waste of public sector hospitals, and sought complete record of the company, which operates incinerators in Kasur.
Advocate Hamid told the bench that hospitals in Punjab had been producing 11,000kg waste per day while the capacity of the government-owned incinerators was 5,000kg per day.
The chief justice directed the government to submit a detailed report within two weeks about performance of the incinerators. He also sought a report about infectious waste produced by all Combined Military Hospitals in Punjab and their mechanism to burn it.
“I do not care about criticism and would visit any hospital whenever deemed necessary,” the CJP said.
MEDICAL COLLEGES: The court agreed to a suggestion given by the commission to seek assistance of a chartered accountancy firm to determine whether the fee structure of private medical colleges justified their expenses.
Advocate Hamid said it would be logically not possible if the colleges were asked to charge fee equal to government institutions.
CJP Nisar said the court was fully concerned about the business interests of private medical colleges, but they could not be allowed to make money only.
On being pointed out by a young doctor, the bench directed the chief secretary to submit a reply about non-implementation of service stricture of doctors despite the government’s agreement in 2012.
CJP Nisar expressed surprise on learning that a young doctor earned Rs45,000 a month during house job.
POULTRY FEED: The court ordered the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) to carry out random sampling of poultry meat from various parts of the city to determine whether it contained any hazardous elements.
The CJP observed that some doctors had said poultry meat was not good for health due to the feed being given to chicken. He avoided further remarks till reports of the analysis were submitted. He ordered PFA Director General Noorul Amin Mengal to submit sealed reports within two weeks.
The bench also constituted a committee comprising three lawyers and the livestock secretary to find out issues with poultry feed and meat along with their solutions.
LDA CITY: The SC took notice of a housing scheme launched by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) under public-private partnership and directed its director general to submit its complete record.
CJP Nisar questioned the legality of the project and the partnership. He directed the LDA chief to submit a detailed report by Feb 24.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2018