LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday undertook before the Lahore High Court that all the environment laws and regulations are being fully complied with in all the development projects, including the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project.
A law officer further told the court that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the project had been submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Justice Shahid Karim observed that the project in the surroundings of the river should be focused towards environmental laws and no land acquisition or construction shall take place without hearing public objections of the aggrieved persons.
The law officer said a notice had also been issued for the next week in order to hear public objections.
The judge directed the officer to also submit a report regarding the essence of public purpose involved in the project.
On the previous hearing, Justice Karim had stayed the work on the project till issuance of the EIA report.
Meanwhile, a judicial water and environment commission submitted its report regarding action and notices issued to 16 sugar mills to establish water treatment plants.
Advocate Sheraz Zaka, on behalf of a petitioner, argued that the sugar mills had not installed water treatment plants and were polluting the water of rivers and canals in the province.
The judge directed the commission to submit a report on the proceedings initiated against the sugar mills and their compliance with the order of installation of the treatment plants.
Regarding smog, Justice Karim observed that although the provincial government had made efforts to improve the air quality of Lahore city, a lot needed to be done.
According to the judicial commission, more than 5,000 brick kilns had been converted to zigzag technology.
The judge also directed the commission to present before the provincial cabinet the draft of its amnesty scheme to regularise the illegal housing societies on payment of fines. The hearing was adjourned to Feb 7.
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021