The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday hinted at issuing directives to shut down the markets at 10pm daily in Lahore and the complete closure on Sunday due to smog.
Justice Shahid Karim directed the Lahore deputy commissioner to hold meetings with traders in this regard and submit a report by the next date.
Justice Karim was hearing different petitions about how smog could be controlled, society could be made pollution-free and groundwater could be protected from wastage.
The relevant officials also updated the court about the closing down of private and government schools for three days while private offices and their sub-offices would also remain shut for two days in the week.
Earlier in the day, the education department of Punjab announced the closure of all public and private schools in the Lahore district every Friday and Saturday till further notice due to smog.
A notification issued by the education department stated that the move of school closure was taken in compliance with the directions of LHC. A copy of the notification was also submitted to the court during the hearing.
Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) also issued a notification, announcing the closure of private offices for two days (Friday and Saturday) in a week in the province.
The order will remain in force from December 7 to January 15. The notification added that staffers may work from home during the said period.
The court also increased the fine for stubble burning from Rs50,000 to Rs200,000. Justice Karim observed that the registration of FIRs was not the only solution to stop stubble burning.
The environmental commission’s member told the court that 153 incidents of stubble burning were reported in the last five days.
Justice Karim remarked that the majority of cases of stubble burning are being reported in Okara. DC Okara told the court that criminal cases were registered against 151 people who were found involved in setting ablaze the remnants of the crops.
The LHC also directed the Punjab government to impose a smog emergency and call a meeting to take appropriate precautionary measures to control the environmental hazard.
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