Katas Raj case: SC orders factory owners to produce permission letters
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the cement factories to produce the permission letters and summoned officers of the Environmental Protection Agency that allowed use of tube wells by the cement factories in Katas Raj Temple case.
The CJP remarked that he will not spare those who gave permission to use underground water.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard suo-motu case on Katas Raj temple.
During the hearing, Chief Justice told that he received a message yesterday that factory owners in that area are waiting for his retirement adding that it may be some prank. Cement factory’s counsel said the message was not sent by his clients.
He said usage of water from natural pond water is illegal.
Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that had it not been for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, he would have closed down the cement factories depleting the underground water table in Chakwal. The chief justice observed that the water of the Katas Raj pond depleted due to the work of the factories, adding that, “what right does the cement factory have to use underground water”. To this, the owner responded that the right was given to them by the Punjab government.
The chief justice then wondered how Environmental Protection Agency officials allowed installation of tube wells, observing that the factory uses Rs 7 billion worth of water every year. The matter could be referred to National Accountability Bureau, added chief justice. The chief justice then remarked that this is a matter of fundamental rights, adding that it will take back the cost of using water for three years from the factory owners.
The apex court ordered the factory to produce permission letter and summoned permitting authorities on next hearing to be scheduled on Tuesday.