Coal Power Plant Government Assures Court Of Observance Of Environment Laws
The Punjab government undertook before the Lahore High Court that pollution charge rules and other environmental laws would be strictly observed in the construction of Sahiwal Coal Power Plant (Qadirabad).
Appearing in the court on the government’s behalf, Additional Advocate General Shan Gul gave an undertaking that pollution charge rules would be strictly complied with as the “sulphur dioxide” emissions from the plant would result in rising pollution levels.
Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh expressed satisfaction at the government’s assurance that the Punjab Environmental Protection Agency would perform its statutory obligations, function autonomously and follow the Pollution Charge Rules 2001 with respect to the coal power plant. The judge disposed of a petition filed by Zubair Niazi and allowed the government to continue with the construction of the plant at Sahiwal, subject to strict compliance with the environmental laws applicable in the province. Earlier, Advocate Sheraz Zaka on behalf of the petitioner argued that the plant’s construction had been commenced without complying with National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) and Pollution Charge (Industry Calculation) Rules 2001.
The counsel argued that given the energy shortage the country was faced with, power projects should not be curtailed if the government gave adequate assurances with respect to ecological conservation and compliance with the environmental laws.
The counsel said the government’s policy of generating power from coal instead of hydroelectric stations would cost the consumers heavily. At this juncture, Justice Sheikh observed that the court could not interfere in policy matters of the government. It was only supposed to see whether the development projects had been executed in a transparent and fair manner or not.
This news was previously published in DAWN and it is being republished here with permission.