KARACHI: The Supreme Court directed on Thursday Karachi’s commissioner to submit a report regarding the status of the land involved in litigation between the provincial government and the Karachi Aero Club. The government had allocated the land for a plant to treat toxic and hazardous industrial waste before discharge into the Arabian Sea.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, called for the report during the hearing of complaints filed with the apex court against increasing marine pollution. The complainants, including Vice Admiral (retd) Ahmed Tasneem and Tanvir Ahmed, claimed that marine pollution in coastal areas had grown at an alarming level because of the discharge of untreated, hazardous industrial waste and pesticides into the sea.
Earlier, the apex court had ordered the federal and provincial environment ministries, Karachi’s administrator, Karachi Port Trust and industrial estates to come up with a strategy to control marine pollution.
On Thursday Ayub Sheikh, the project director for the Greater Karachi Sewerage Treatment Plan (S-III), said that a proposal had been floated for giving an alternate space to the Aero Club. The proposal also included compensation to the club for evicting it from the land which it currently occupies.
The court also wanted to ensure that there are no administrative delays in implementing the S-III project. The local government secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez informed the court that a notification to give the power of deputy district officer to the S-III project director is ready and would be issued by Friday (today).
Regarding the administrative functions of the project director, the secretary said his department had never created any hurdles in this regard. There is project monitoring committee and steering committee which oversee the project and hence he has nothing to do with it, he said.
About financial issues, the secretary said he would ensure smooth and timely payment of all the bills the project director gives to the department, adding that orders would be passed on the same.
Ayub Sheikh, the director of the S-III project, expressed satisfaction over the secretary’s undertaking. The judges however directed the local government secretary to abide by the assurances made by them before the court.
After hearing the arguments, the bench issued a notice to the Karachi Aero Club for filing its reply by the next session. The commissioner was also directed to file a report regarding the status of the Karachi Aero Club and its dispute with the provincial government before the next hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2013.
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