LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday imposed a ban on felling of trees in the entire Punjab province and sought a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on mango orchards being cut down in Multan by housing societies.
Justice Shahid Karim issued the order on an application moved by a judicial water commission in already pending petitions related to environmental issues.
On behalf of the commission, Advocate Syed Kamal Haider contended that housing societies had cut down nearly 6,000 acres of mango orchards without any environmental approval or assessment.
He said all the fertile and agricultural land would be consumed by the housing societies if no action was taken by the authorities concerned. He said the EPA had been sitting silent on this grave violation whereas it should have declared the fertile land being internationally significant for mango plant and environmentally sensitive under the existing regulations.
He pointed out that the Multan Development Authority had declared some areas as negative for industrial use, but it had remained silent when it came to agricultural use of the land.
Justice Karim observed that it was pathetic that the EPA issued NOCs to private land developers to carry out construction activity at the expense of trees.
The judge adjourned further hearing of the case till April 9 and directed the EPA to ensure that no more trees were cut for the construction activity in the province.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021