Court Snubs Officer For Issuing Fresh NOCs For Train Project
The Lahore High Court has taken strong exception to issuance of fresh No Objection Certificates (NOCs) in favour of Orange Line Metro Train project by the Director General of Environment Protection Department without taking requisite measures.
During hearing of petitions against the train project, a division bench asked the EP Department’s Director General Javed Iqbal to cite justification for issuing fresh NOCs for the project without taking measures for the protection of workers at construction sites and the impact of pollution.
The bench observed that the DG did not stop the project even after government’s advisory committees questioned the absence of adequate protective measures.
The bench went on to say that the Director General was an ineligible officer as he did not even apply his own mind while issuing the NOCs.
The bench comprised of Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and Justice Shahid Karim.
The DG should have been removed for his negligence but he was still in his office, the bench observed with surprise.
Advocate General of Punjab Shakilur Rehman Khan told the bench that 73MW electricity was required for the functioning of the train project.
At this, the petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique questioned as to how the government could generate 73MW electricity for the project as it was yet to overcome the acute power crisis in the country.
He said the government would spend Rs50 billion for the required electricity in addition to the original project cost.
He said people were dying of poverty and unemployment but public money was being spent on roads and projects like Orange Line.
The bench adjourned further hearing and asked a local commission to submit its report regarding the alleged violation of the stay order issued against construction of the project within 200-foot radius of heritage sites.
The bench also sought assistance from amici curiae Advocate Waqas Mir and Barrister Ali Zafar for the next hearing.
This news was previously published in DAWN and is being republished here with permission.