Monday August 08, 2022

Prepare road management plan to curb smog: LHC

By Our Correspondent
November 20, 2021

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Friday directed the Lahore chief traffic officer to prepare a road management plan to control smog and present in the court a short-term measures plan to maintain the flow of traffic.

Justice Shahid Karim was hearing dozens of identical petitions for control of rising smog. Advocate Sheraz Zaka is representing the petitioners. During hearing, Justice Shahid Karim remarked that the situation regarding smog in Lahore was getting alarming but the environment minister instead of gauging its gravity had gone into self-denial by issuing absurd circulars. “Steps need to be taken on a permanent basis to control smog, '' he added.

The court directed the Punjab government’s lawyer to form a committee on the issue of smog to look into the matter. Justice Shahid Karim directed Lahore Mayor Col (retd) Mubashar to appear in person before the court to apprise it as to what extent the local government was empowered to take steps to curb smog.

The court remarked that Jail Road had been made a signal free road without taking into account citizens' problems as now crossing roads had become an uphill task for them. The court expressed concern over the likely transfer of the CTO and remarked that orders would also be issued to stop his transfer.

Earlier, Lahore CTO Muntazar Mehdi told the court that 93 letters had been written to the authorities concerned for removal of encroachments but no progress had been made. He said that smog was a bigger issue than dengue and corona. Strict laws need to be made in the future.

The court adjourned the hearing till November 23. In a related case, the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notice to the Punjab government on a petition seeking a two-week lockdown in the smog-affected areas. Justice Shahid Karim issued this order on a petition filed by Advocate Aftab Virk.

The petitioner pointed out that Lahore currently ranked second in the world in terms of pollution. Due to increase in smog, citizens are suffering from different diseases, including eye and respiratory diseases. The petitioner stated that the main reason for the increase in pollution was smoke from industries and vehicles. The court will resume th e hearing on Nov 23.