Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench Judge Justice Chaudhary Abdul Aziz has ordered to immediately retrieve all state land from grabbers in Murree.
In a detailed judgment on the Murree tragedy, the court also ordered the Punjab Highway Authority to ensure the protection of every inch of the state land in Murree and Kotli Satian.
The court declared that God has endowed Murree with immense natural beauty and no one can be allowed to destroy the beauty of the area. “Illegal deforestation, mountain cutting and construction of concrete buildings cannot be allowed in Murree,” the verdict said.
The court said that during tourist season, 30,000 to 35,000 vehicles enter the hill station but it has parking capacity for only 400 vehicles, which was very unfortunate.
The court has ordered the federal government to set up a state-of-the-art meteorological department for forecasting weather and snowfall.
The court has held Rescue 1122, the Punjab Disaster Management Authority and the Punjab Highway Department directly responsible for the tragic Murree tragedy, which claimed 22 live on January 7.
In the verdict, the court has banned illegal construction, construction of multi-storey buildings and cutting of trees in Murree. The court has ordered strict departmental action against all those responsible for the Murree tragedy.
The court has ordered to increase in the compensation for the victims’ heirs. In the verdict, it has ordered to set up a new department for drainage, snow removal and cleaning in Murree.
The court has ordered to increase in the number of police personnel and rescuers in Murree. The court has also ordered to enhance the parking area during the tourist season and categorise hotels and fix the rent accordingly.
The court has also issued orders to impose a ban on the use of plastic bags in Murree. It has ordered to clean all water channels from Murree to Rawalpindi and Islamabad and take emergency measures to remove snow immediately from roads during the winter season.
The court has called for a ban on the roadside parking of vehicles and recommended establishing a large and modern commercial parking plaza for vehicles.
The court has ordered to forman an inquiry team to review building by-laws in Murree and Kotli Satian.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2022.
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