ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Monday sought permission letters for water boring allotted to the cement factories while summoning officials concerned of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that allowed them.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo moto case regarding drying up of the Katas Raj Temple pond. During course of proceedings, the chief justice observed that owners of the cement factories should fulfill their corporate duties instead of just making money.
He said that the problems of the residential areas should be resolved. Due to cement factories, the Katas Raj pond had been dried, it was matter of public interest, the court would examine the matter deeply and if possible then responsible elements had to pay charges of the water used in the last three years, he said.
He remarked that he would have closed down the cement factories depleting the underground water level in Chakwal. “If the government and the factory owners fail to resolve the matter, the court retains the option of closing down factories,” Justice Atta Bandial said, adding that the underground water in the entire country was utilised without any cost.
The counsels for the cement factories apprised the bench that they hired experts to find out alternate options instead of the underground water but its cast would be in billions. The chief justice remarked that earlier underground water level was at 50 fits but now it was reached at hundreds fits below, factories used water worth of billions and now be ready to pay its charges.
“Owners have no mercy for public, they just looking for their interests,” he said, adding that why not this matters should be referred to the National Accountability Bureau. The chief justice remarked that the court would not allow human life to be sacrificed to run factories. A factory can be shifted from one place to another but how people could shift their homes, he said. Subsequently, the court adjourned further hearing till April 24.