LAHORE: In a major development, the Punjab government on Tuesday removed the agriculture department officers from the responsibility of focal persons for monitoring and preventing stubble burning and assigned the task to assistant commissioners in all tehsils of Lahore division.

The decision was made after the Punjab government observed that the agriculture officers (deputy/assistant directors) deputed as focal persons were found to be negligent in the duty assigned to them.

“The [decision of] removal of the agriculture officers from the responsibility of focal person has been made after it was observed that they were not taking action against those involved in stubble burning on the pretext of the jurisdiction of their tehsils, districts etc. Moreover, they were also not taking action forcefully in their own jurisdiction,” an official source told Dawn.

“This all was discussed in detail in the meeting presided over by the Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa,” the source privy to the meeting added.

He said the issue came to the limelight after some people uploaded various videos on social media showing agriculture fields as having massive stubble burning leading to smog in several parts of Punjab, especially Lahore and some adjoining major cities.

ACs tasked with preventing stubble burning

Meanwhile, the commissioner took stern action on the reports related to massive stubble burning in Sukheki and some other parts and directed the assistant commissioners to act against the responsible people.

He said the brick kilns working without zigzag technology must be demolished. He said for smog complaints and information, helpline 042-111-425-725, WhatsApp number 0328-9491760 and social media accounts should be made public.

“If the complaint is not resolved within 24 hours, Lahore Commissioner office will intervene and resolve it on its own besides taking action against the negligent officers,” he said, adding that the DCs must undertake stricter monitoring from Nankana and Sheikhupura Motorway regarding stubble burning and take immediate action against those who torch crop residue.

All pyrolysis plants releasing smoke must be demolished without hesitation. The commissioner said 12 teams have been appointed for checking industrial units in North Lahore and Mahmood Booti area.

Squads headed by DCs and DPOs would patrol Lahore to Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib Motorways at night. It was told in the meeting that the traffic police impounded 5,700 smoke emitting vehicles while 1,300 challans of uncovered trolleys have been issued.

“DCs will be held responsible in case of black smoke coming out of the chimneys of factory or brick kiln,” he warned.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
17 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

THERE was a time not too long ago when the faces we see sitting in government today would cry themselves hoarse over...
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...