The Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) green bench has directed all public and private hospitals to install incinerators so hospital waste is properly disposed and does not pollute the environment.
The court also instructed the environmental department to take actions against all those violating orders issued during a suo motu notice hearing on environmental pollution and tree felling.
The bench comprising PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth observed that polluted water flowing in canals leads to the spread of disease, and industrial units and residents should be warned not to drop refuse in canals, otherwise they will be dealt with accordingly.
Municipal administrator Javed Amjad said de-silting of Shahi Khatta and canals was underway. Show-cause notices have been issued to a number of employees for neglecting their duty and their salaries have also been attached, Amjad added.
“No one is interested in fulfilling their responsibility as government servants, who are meant to provide relief to the public. Officials perform duties at the homes of ministers and important officials instead,” CJ Khan said.
The judges expressed concerns over the absence of general manager of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and other health department officials during the proceedings. The court directed the SNGPL general manager to visit all hospitals and ensure gas is provided to waste incinerators.
The chief secretary of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) was directed to meet the officials concerned and take concrete steps to keep the environment safe. The bench also asked the finance department to issue funds for the said purpose.
The court warned it would initiate contempt of court proceedings if officials failed to comply with orders.
Refund the Neelum-Jehlum surcharge
The PHC proscribed the surcharge in monthly electricity bills issued to companies developing the Neelum-Jehlum Hydel project. It asked the authorities concerned to return the collected amount to the petitioners.
The orders were issued by the bench while hearing a writ petition filed by four different companies.
The counsel for the companies informed CJ Khan and Justice Seth that the Water and Power Development Authority had collected millions of rupees from his client under ‘Neelum-Jehlum surcharge’ from February to June 2008.
He contended the Lahore High Court has already assured other companies their money will be returned. The bench admitted the petition and issued orders for either the money to be paid back or be adjusted in future electricity bills.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.
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