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February 25, 2021

Judicial commission to monitor EIA for Naya Pakistan Scheme

Lahore

February 25, 2021

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government that a judicial commission would monitor the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the development project of “Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme”. Justice Shahid Karim passed the direction hearing multiple petitions relating to environmental issues. The judge already restrained construction work on Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RUDAP) till approval of its EIA report. During the Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Karim observed that Lahore had been recklessly ruined as it became the second most polluted city in the world.

Earlier, the judicial commission comprising retired justice Ali Akbar Qureshi submitted a report that 46 sugar mills had been given notices and deadline till March 2 to submit their EIAs and design of waste water treatment plants. The judge directed the commission to take the sugar mills to task for failing to not submit EIAs regarding installation of water treatment plants.

Representing a petitioner, Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued that the public functionaries failed to perform their statutory obligations as EIAs had not been approved by the EPA for the major development projects. He said air quality index in Lahore had deteriorated to adverse levels due to smog.

The judge directed the government that the judicial commission comprising the retired justice would monitor the process of the EIA for the Naya Pakistan Housing Project. He also asked the government to come up with a clear stance as to whether the LDA was executing the housing project or an independent body. The judge sought a progress report from the commission by Feb 25. Additional Advocate General Anees Hashmi and legal advisors of LDA and EPA were present in the court.