Immediate steps ordered for Ravi Bioremediation Project
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has directed the Punjab chief secretary to take immediate steps for setting up of the Bioremediation Project in the Ravi.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah also ordered the chief secretary to proceed with recommendations of the River Ravi Commission to protect fundamental rights of citizens of Lahore and the aquatic life in the river. The chief secretary was further directed to submit an interim report within a month.
In pursuance to the court’s order of Nov 20, the commission was directed to hold a meeting to re-evaluate initiation of the Bioremediation Project and consider current status and cost of River Ravi Front Development Project proposed by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).
Earlier, the commission in its report had stated there was no objection to setting up of the Bioremediation Project. It stated the project was a homegrown solution to clean polluted water entering the river, while 50 acre were required for the project whose overall cost was approximately Rs50 million and did not involve development of any major infrastructure, as it simply comprised water ponds.
On the other hand, counsel for the LDA stated the Ravi Front Development Project had a total cost of $3 billion (approximately Rs318 billion). He further submitted that total land required for the project was around 300 acre that was yet to be acquired under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
Counsel for the petitioners and Ravi Commission secretary, Advocate Ahmad Rafay Alam, pointed out the commission in its last meeting had inquired about the status of the development project and according to the information received, neither PC-1 had been prepared nor the Environment Impact Assessment undertaken. He further submitted that seven components of the proposed project pertained to waste management, but none of them had yet been initiated.
A representative of the Water and Sanitation Agency told the court as far as 50 acre for the Bioremediation Project were concerned, they were already in possession of the agency, therefore till such time front development project materialised, the Bioremediation Project could be put in place with only 0.16pc of the cost of the former.
The judge adjourned further hearing till Jan 13, 2016.