Environment Protection Department (EPD) officials, on Friday, registered an FIR against factory owners and workers who beat them up when they tried to seal off a factory in Baghbanpura area that was sealed off.
The EPD attempted to seal off the steel re-rolling mills that had been sealed off earlier for burning tyres and coal.
In January, the department had acted against 140 factories in Mominapura for burning tyres and the factories, according to EPD officials, currently have cases in front of tribunals.
The officials said the factories have been warned several times about pollution but had chosen to ignore the warnings. EPD officials said 40 mills were sealed off last month.
On Thursday, the EPD told all factory owners in Mominapura to come to a meeting on Friday at the Town Hall. Only 35 showed up.
The EPD told them that for burning coal they must get scrubbers installed or risk having their factory sealed off for an indefinite period.
Following the meeting, an eight member EPD team raided some of the factories and found them violating the orders.
Four tyre godowns and seven factories were then sealed off.
A few hours later, one of the factory owners broke the seal and started operating again.
On Friday, EPD officials were attacked by factory workers when they tried to re-seal the factory. The officials were forced to take refuge at a police station.
District Officer Tariq Zaman told The Express Tribune that the factories had been given several warnings. He said there would be no relaxation this time.
Concerned neighbours had been filing applications with the EPD, he said, as residents of the area kept falling ill due to the pollution.
Some factory owners expressed their reservations about being given insufficient time for installation of scrubbers.
Ashraf, a factory owner told The Express Tribune that EPD officials had put forward personnel of Al Karim Engineering Works, Solution Environment and Analytical Laboratories and Ittehad Engineers as experts in installation of scrubbers.
He said even though the DO had professed that he had no interest in pushing any company’s product, he had warned them against installing scrubbers that did not meet the EPD’s specifications.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2012.
More in PunjabHuman rights: ‘Make school curricula hatred-free’