Environmental pollution: SC orders inspection of industrial units

CJP warns mill owners of heavy penalty if they fail to put in place measures to contain pollution

 

Tauseef Abbasi

ISLAMABAD

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out an inspection of industrial units and factories in Islamabad — to ascertain if they have put in place measures to contain environmental pollution — and submit a report within five days.

The court also directed the Supreme Court HR Cell director to coordinate with the EPA in inspecting the industrial units in Islamabad.

“It should be told to us after carrying out the inspection of the industrial zone how many industrial units are functioning and which industrial units have not taken steps for curbing the pollution,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked while heading a three-member bench during the hearing of the case related to industrial and environmental pollution.

“The mill owners do not know (about) the powers of the court and they are directly playing with the lives of people. The issue of the environment is directly linked to the lives of the people. I will not allow the owners of factories to play with their lives,” the chief justice said.

The chief justice said that “it is being said that steps have been taken to curb the industrial pollution”.

During the hearing, EPA Director-General (DG) Farzana Altaf Shah told the court that no steps have been taken by the regulatory body as “we are not allowed to conduct the inspection of the industrial units”.

The chief justice remarked: “The mill owners have no idea about the powers of the court. These people are playing with the lives of people directly. We will confiscate their security worth Rs5 million each”.

The EPA chief said: “The mill owners have made us dog from the watchdog”. The CJP remarked: “Eight percent markup will be charged from those who have not deposited security.  This entire amount will go to the dam fund.”

The bench said that a detailed and comprehensive report should be submitted to the court so that the situation could become clear.

The hearing was adjourned till September 24.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday directed civil courts to dispose of all under trial cases pertaining to the hiring at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in the next three months.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case of a petitioner about non-regularization of his job by the hospital administration.

The bench questioned why the Pims administration has failed to resolve such cases.

Pims Executive Director Dr Amjad said that a number of such cases were pending in different civil courts. He further said that the employees approach the court for stay orders after their contract gets expired.

Dr Amjad also said that the hospital was short of security staff and the provision of security to everyone was not possible. He was referring to the incident in which a lady doctor was thrashed by attendants of a patient.

He said that the police had arrested two suspects and two of them were still at large.

 

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