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October 29, 2020

EPD new rules to facilitate businessmen: minister

Lahore

October 29, 2020

LAHORE:Provincial Minister for Environment Muhammad Rizwan on Wednesday said the EPD has prepared new rules which would make the system more transparent and bring ease in getting NOC for starting business.

The minister stated this in a press conference regarding the two-year performance of his department and measures taken to control smog by the government. The minister said that One Window System had been launched in Environmental Protection Department and all the relevant data was going to be made online so that any applicant could be aware of all the steps taken by the department to facilitate businessmen and the districts had been empowered to issue NOCs to small units so that the applicants do not have to come to the head office in Lahore from remote areas to obtain NOCs.

He said that for the first time in history of the department, a special audit of the EPA had been conducted which led to the uprooting of corrupt individuals, eliminated the mafia and achieved the necessary reforms in the department.

He cleared that in the past, it used to take 120 days for large units to get NOC, which had been reduced to 60 days, while the time for small units had been reduced from 60 to 20 days.

He said the department was working on a mega project worth $273 million with the collaboration of World Bank in which 200 million belonged to the World Bank and 73 million to the Punjab government. This project showed best expression of confidence in the department by the World Bank. He said that rules for information disclosure or public participation had been made and for the creation of Environmental Fund in Punjab, rules had been set up with the consultation of the World Bank.

The minister said that EPA Punjab had drafted the rules/ regulations that include: Punjab Environmental Protection (Administrative Penalty and Compounding of Offences) Rules, 2020, Punjab Hazardous Substances Rules, 2020, Punjab Batteries (Environment Management & Handling) Rules 2020, Punjab Review of Initial Environmental Examination and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation, 2020.

The minister said that EPA would take stringent action against persistent defaulters i.e. units operating without obtaining environmental approval.