Govt promises new environment policy

Punjab Assembly passes local government bill

Rana Yasif September 15, 2022
Lahore is consistently ranked one of the world's worst cities for air pollution. PHOTO: AFP


The provincial government vowed on Wednesday to introduce a new environment policy and increase the numbers of environmental tribunals and inspectors as well as to make the department responsible to fight pollution stronger and more viable.

After PML-N legislators came down hard on the the government in the Punjab Assembly over inadequate measures to deal with environment issues, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basharat Raja said the PTI was the first political party that had taken initiatives at a massive level to make the environment pollution-free.

During the question-answer session, PML-N members Kanwal Pervez and Akhtar Ali expressed concern over a reply submitted by the environment protection department that there were only seven inspectors in Lahore district for checking pollution.

Minister Basharat Raja said a summary had been forwarded to the chief minister, proposing an increase in the number of the inspectors. PML-N members said Lahore was the district with the highest pollution level and questioned how only seven inspectors could tackle it.

The minister reiterated that the government was not only going to increase the number of the inspectors and environmental tribunals but also introducing a new environment policy.

PPP’s Syed Usman Mehmood said he had asked how much money the environment protection department had spent in Rahim Yar Khan district to curb environmental and water pollution and the department had replied, “No amount had been spent in this district for the said purpose.”

He asked Speaker Sibtain Khan how consensus could be developed on striving for a pollution-free atmosphere.

The provincial minister asked the PPP lawmaker to submit his proposals in this regard. The assembly also passed The Punjab Local Government Bill 2021.

The opposition created ruckus to halt the process of passing the bill but in vain.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2022.


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