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October 11, 2019

Kiln owners barred from extracting sand without NOC


October 11, 2019

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court Thursday barred all brick-kiln owners from extracting sand from the land without obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from mines department, observing that mines and minerals belong to government.

The court directed the Punjab government to enact legislation in order to bring the kiln industry under Punjab Mines and Mineral Concession Rules 2002 as sand or soil used for manufacturing of a brick is a precious mineral.

In its 21-page order, Justice Tariq Salim Sheikh directed the Punjab government to ensure that brick-kiln industry adapt zigzag technology and asked secretary mines not to give right to excavate sand to any brick-kiln owner without no objection certificate.

The court observed that all minerals beneath and on the surface of the land belong to the government and it is nobody's private property, asking the Punjab environmental protection agency to implement environmental laws against the brick-kiln industry emitting pollution, contributing to smog.

The petition was filed by Mian Asif seeking protection for the kiln factories owners being harassed by Punjab environmental protection agency, mines department and police.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka was appointed amicus curiae (friend of court) and he argued that mines and minerals on the land and beneath the surface belong to the ownership of government as mentioned in Punjab Land Revenue Act 1967. He pointed out that public trust doctrine states that resources, including sand used to manufacture brick belong to public and government is a trustee and hence cannot be used under private ownership unless or until requisite approval is obtained by minerals department under Punjab Mines and Mineral Rules 2002.

The court had reserved judgment on August 02 which was announced Thursday by Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem in open court as Justice Tariq Salim Sheikh was currently working at Lahore High Court Multan bench.

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