LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has stayed work on the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project till the approval of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, besides asking the government to file compliance report with regard to meeting environmental standards in the Naya Pakistan Housing Project (NPHP).
Justice Shahid Karim in a verdict released on Saturday about the Dec 31 hearing of multiple petitions involving different environmental issues said since the process for the grant of EIA of the urban development project was under way, it was directed that no work should be commenced at the site by [Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda)] until the approvals were granted by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).
Additional Advocate General Anis Hashmi on Thursday submitted some record related to the EIA report on the riverfront project and also placed on record a letter written by the Ruda chairman to the EPD director general on Dec 30 seeking information about legal requirements for submission of the EIA report.
Previously, the judge had sought reports from the federal and provincial governments about the compliance with environmental regulations in the project.
Besides the riverfront project, Justice Karim directed an assistant attorney general to apprise the court of the measures being taken to comply with environmental standards regarding the Naya Pakistan Housing Project being built by an authority set up by the federal government. The court sought its compliance report to meet environmental standards.
Judge seeks report on compliance with environmental standards in Naya Pakistan Housing Project
Commission report on smog
About the steps being taken to control smog, a judicial water and environmental commission meanwhile filed a report stating that 38.72 per cent of the brick kilns operating in Punjab had already adopted zigzag technology.
Besides, it said, a number of industrial units had been sealed and their owners booked for violation of the provincial disaster management authority’s directions regarding smoke emission.
The report further said a large number of vehicles had been impounded and fines imposed worth Rs69 million for not conforming to the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The judge directed the Lahore Development Authority to launch a campaign against encroachments and illegal parking of cars in Samanabad, Gulshan-i-Ravi, Bund Road and Allama Iqbal Town (Moon Market) as pointed out by the commission.
The public interest petitions were represented by advocates Abuzar Salman Niazi, Azhar Siddique, Sheraz Zaka and Ahmad Rafay Alam. The next hearing would be fixed later by the registrar office.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2021