Monday July 22, 2024

LHC stays construction work on Ravi Urban Development Project

By Amir Riaz
January 03, 2021

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has restrained Ravi River Urban Development Authority (RUDA) from carrying out construction work on multi-billion-rupee Ravi River Front Urban Development Project till the grant of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

“Since the process for the grant of EIA is under way, it is directed that no work shall be commenced at the site by RUDA until the approvals are granted by the EPD,” Justice Shahid Karim stayed the construction and ruled in an order released Saturday about the Thursday’s hearing on petitions regarding different environmental issues.

Previously, the judge had sought reports from the federal and provincial governments about the compliance of environmental regulations in the project.

On Thursday, Additional Advocate General Anis Hashmi submitted the relevant record of the EIA report prepared in respect of Ravi River Front Urban Development Project.

He also placed on record a letter written to the director general of the EPD on December 30, 2020 by the chairman of the RUDA requesting for information regarding legal requirements for submission of EIA report.

Besides staying the Ravi River Front project, Justice Karim also directed an assistant attorney general to apprise the court regarding “Naya Pakistan Project” being constructed by an authority, set up by the federal government, of the measures taken in this regard by the authority to comply with the environmental standards.

Meanwhile, a judicial water & environmental commission filed its report about steps being taken to control smog. It revealed that 38.72 percent of the brick kilns operating in Punjab had already converted to new zigzag technology.

It said a number of industrial units had been sealed and FIRs had also been registered against the owners for emitting smoke in violation of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s directions.

The commission’s report further revealed that a large number of vehicles had been impounded and fines imposed to the tune of Rs69 million for not conforming to the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The judge also directed the LDA to launch a campaign against encroachments and illegal parking of cars in the areas of Samanabad, Gulshan-i-Ravi, Bund Road and Allama Iqbal Town (Moon Market) as pointed out by the commission.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued on behalf of petitioners, the sugar mills were involved in emission of carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The court has adjourned the hearing for a date to be fixed by the LHC’s Registrar Office.

Previously, a judicial commission had submitted its report that out of 7670 brick kilns 2206 had been converted into zigzag technology, 71 fuel stations had been sealed for selling sub-standard fuel.

Justice Karim had directed the government to impose heavy fines against the industrial emissions across the province and also those involved in selling and manufacturing of plastic bags. The judge had directed the EPA to also enforce the ban on the use of plastic bags at the restaurants and medical stores.