As many as 425 factories, situated in residential areas, have been issued warning notices and the factory owners have been asked to come to the Environment Protection Department (EPD) office within four days to explain as to how the accident risks in their factories could be reduced.
The notices were issued after a six-month survey conducted by four government departments on the directions of District Coordination Officer Noorul Amin Mengal.
In early June, Mengal had ordered the Lahore Development Authority, the EPD, the Labour Department, the Rescue 1122 and building inspectors from respective tehsil municipal administrations to survey industrial units across Lahore as a cautionary step in the wake of boiler explosions in Karachi and Lahore which had led to casualties.
The survey was conducted in all nine towns of Lahore. Factories operating boilers, pressure vessels and compressors have all been classified as a “threat to lives of neighbours,” in observations noted by the survey.
An inspector, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said all sorts of factories such as dyeing, embroidery, textile, paint and chemical are housed in areas declared residential under the Master Plan 2005. He said heavy printing machines, which caused reverberations, were also installed in non-commercial areas.
A Labour Department inspector said the factories had been inspected for the condition of machinery posing danger to human life, location, pollution and risk of explosions.
Environment DDO Younas Zahid said the factory owners would submit their replies within the next four days or their factories would be sealed and an FIR would be registered against them under the Punjab Local Government Ordinance.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2012.