LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday told the Lahore High Court that all public and private schools in the provincial capital will remain closed on every Friday and Saturday, in addition to the weekly holiday on Sunday, until further orders due to the worsening smog situation.
A provincial law officer also presented a notification issued by the school education secretary to this effect before Justice Shahid Karim, who had asked the government to notify the closure of schools in Lahore for at least three days a week.
The law officer also presented another notification by the Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) regarding the closure of all private offices in Lahore for two days in a week — Friday and Saturday — till Jan 15, 2023. However, the staff may work from home.
Justice Karim directed the government to implement the notifications forthwith.
Lahore Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muhammad Ali and other officials of the government also appeared before the court.
The judge directed the DC to hold discussions with the traders to ensure closure of markets by 10pm daily and a complete shutdown on Sundays. The judge further directed the DC to devise a policy in consultation with the PDMA for monitoring of smoke-emitting industries through drone cameras to ensure a clean environment in the city.
An official of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) submitted new rules, as previously directed by the court, to make the existing punishments for violation of the laws and policies stricter. The factories/industries, as per the new rules, could be demolished for committing violations after the warnings.
The judge adjourned the hearing to the next week and sought compliance reports from the authorities concerned.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022