SC stays construction of grid station at F-9 Park -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SC stays construction of grid station at F-9 Park

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed construction of a gird station in Fatima Jinnah Park popularly known as the F-9 Park.

The apex court issued the order on a petition filed by Anwar Ali Butt, a resident of F-8, requesting the apex court to ask the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to stop the construction of the grid station immediately.

The petition was heard by a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

The court ordered the CDA to maintain status quo while giving its remarks about the construction of the grid station in the capital’s biggest Park.

Justice Nisar also remarked that commercial activities were being carried out in the public park.

Abdur Rehman Siddiqi, counsel for the CDA, said that of the total area of around 5,600 kanals, gird station would be constructed over an area of only six kanals.

At this, Justice Nisar said that dangerous rays emitted from grid stations, so the construction could not be allowed in the park.

He observed that if the CDA was allowed construction of grid station in the public park, after this, the civic agency would come back seeking permission for other commercial activities.

The court also sought a report from the Pakistan-Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and adjourned the case for an indefinite period.

In December 2015, the Pak-EPA issued a no objection certificate (NOC) to the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) for the construction of a grid station in a public park, in violation of a previous Supreme Court’s decision that public park land could not be used for any other purpose.

Interestingly, in January 2015, the Pak-EPA had barred the civic agency and the Iesco from constructing a grid station in F-9 Park, arguing that the CDA could not allot a land without “denotifying” it from the park area.

The apex court, in its order, has confirmed that public park land cannot be used for other purposes.

However, former DG Pak-EPA Dr Khurshid Khan was transferred in June 2015 and the CDA found the opportunity to make a nexus with some officials of Pak-EPA to embark on its unpopular plan of construction of a grid station in the F-9 Park claiming that that the entire park land was not allocated for the park area.

The Pak-EPA issued the NOC when it was working without a permanent DG on December 28, 2015.

In January 2015, the Iesco had started initial construction work at the F-9 Park without following the rules and getting an NOC from the Pak-EPA, raising concern among residents of the capital.

Then DG Pak-EPA Dr Khurshid Khan upon receiving complaints summoned the Iesco officials for a personal hearing on gross violation of environmental rules by initiating construction work on grid station in F-9 Park illegally and without obtaining an NOC from the environment protection body.

At the time, Khan had personally visited the site where construction work was being carried out by the Iesco in violation of the warnings issued by EPA and a Supreme Court verdict.

The environmental watchdog, at that time, had told the CDA and the Iesco to stop building the grid station in the park.

The CDA had allocated 10 kanals of parkland to the Iesco for the project.
Express Tribune