LAHORE: Massive migration of people from small towns and cities to Lahore primarily in search of livelihood has resulted in haphazard expansion of the provincial metropolis.
Several industrial zones, which were far away from the city two decades or so ago, have now been surrounded by residential areas owing to rapid urbanisation.
Ironically, a hospital set up by the City District Government of Lahore on Mohni Road for the treatment of tuberculosis patients has chemical factories just 50 feet from it.
More than 700 industrial units including steel foundries, re-rolling mills, kilns and furnaces, scrap yards and plastic recycling units have been operating in various localities of Northern Lahore alone, according to an officer of the Punjab Environment Department.
Marble grinding and furniture manufacturing industries had been operating in residential areas of Ichhra along Ferozepur Road besides Bund and Ravi roads. College Road in Township has also turned into a mini industrial zone with the establishment of marble grinding industry there.
Kot Lakhpat industrial area has also been surrounded by residential colonies while Brandreth Road has become the hub of mechanical spare parts. Adjoining localities like Rehman Gallian, Lunda Bazaar, Prem Gallian and Adda Crown now have high temperature furnaces, steel rubbing and polishing units.
Gulshan-i-Ravi was developed as a residential locality of the city but is also rapidly changing into an industrial zone as several machinery manufacturing units have been established in various blocks of the locality, especially those close to Bund Road.
Motor workshops and heavy body vehicle manufacturing is another rapidly increasing industry in the locality.
Several industrial units have also been operating in residential localities like Mohajirabad, Saidpur, Qazi and Hasan towns along Multan Road, posing serious threat to human life.
Quoting the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997, the EPD officer said all industrial units -- cottage or large -- are supposed to obtain NOCs from the Environment Protection Department but more than 70 per cent such units operating in the city do not bother to fulfill the legal formality.
“The EPD has sealed a number of factories, sent challans of several other industrial units to the Environment Tribunal after completing all formalities for legal action. But in the absence of a tribunal to hand out stronger punishments, these units resume their working with the patronage of influential people of the area, CDGL officials or police concerned.
“Ironically, the tribunal which can serve as a deterrent to such violations, has been without a chairman since July 2011. Some 130 cases of steel mills in residential areas of northern Lahore have been lying pending with the tribunal,” said the officer who sought anonymity.