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PESHAWAR, Jan 15: A two-member bench of Peshawar High Court here on Tuesday directed the provincial government to replace all the rusted water supply pipes within a month and declare dumping of filth and sewage in canals as a penal offence by enacting a law in that regard.

The bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Irshad Qaiser ordered the government to erect fences and safety walls along the canals passing through the provincial capital and arrest all those, who were dumping sewage in canals through their residential drainage systems.

The court directed the provincial irrigation secretary to prepare a draft bill and refer it to the law department for onward legislation so as to declare the practice of littering of canals a non-bailable criminal offence.

The court had taken suo moto notice of the environmental degradation in the provincial capital and issued detailed order on June 16, 2011.

The court had directed the provincial government to replace all the rotten potable water supply pipes within six months and install incinerators at proper places across the province for proper waste disposal. However, the said order could not be implemented properly.

The provincial secretary of local government department, Aurangzeb Khan, informed the court that with the support of USAID they had launched a three-year project of replacing water supplying pipes in several localities.

He said that they had categorised the said project and initially they had focused those areas where the supplied potable water was considered unfit for consumption.

Similarly, the secretary of public health engineering department, Sohail Altaf, informed the court that during the last two years 209 water supply projects had been completed in the province.

The director general of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Mohammad Bashir, said that the court had issued 12 guidelines to the government prominent among which were to constitute a task force of high-ups of government departments; constitute a cabinet committee for checking environmental issues; install incinerators for proper waste disposal; check vehicle involved in environmental pollution through smoke emission; introduce latest equipment for waste removal; and shift carpet weaving units from city area.He said that so far cases were registered by the EPA against 605 industries and other institutions on charges of environmental pollution. He stated that a cabinet committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the then senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, but after his death so far nobody else was designated as its chairman.

Dr Bashir added that negotiations were in progress for acquiring land for the setting up a carpet village to shift the carpet weaving units outside the city.

The court expressed displeasure over the non-functioning of incinerators in some of the hospitals owing to non-availability of natural gas and directed that the provision of gas for smooth running of incinerators should be ensured.

The bench adjourned the hearing of the case to Feb 21 with the direction to inform the court about all the steps taken for the implementation of their order.