Transmission tower: AJK govt refuses to issue clearance certificate to Iesco

Says allowing construction will endanger animals, birds at Mirpur Zoo.

Our Correspondent July 01, 2015
The transmission lines were supposed to pass through Mirpur Zoo and the captive breeding centre for indigenous wildlife. STOCK IMAGE

MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has refused to issue no-objection certificate (NOC) to the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) to set up a 132KV transmission tower in Mirpur.

Iesco had sought permission to set up the tower at Landative, Mirpur, for supplying electricity to its consumers but the AJK Wildlife and Fisheries Department objected to the location.

The transmission lines were supposed to pass through Mirpur Zoo and the captive breeding centre for indigenous wildlife.

“The 132 KV transmission line at Rajjar Mirpur is being constructed under a programme of the Asian Development Bank and the tower foundation had been concreted. The high voltage transmission line from both sides was also completed except tower 11 that falls in the Mirpur Zoo, where the ground clearance of  the transmission line is approximately  42 feet and there is no danger to animals and their cages,” said an Iesco document submitted to the AJK government.

The Iesco dispatch further reads that they have no option to reroute the transmission line as it has been completed from both sides except the specific tower that falls inside the zoo premises.

The Iesco has also offered compensation to the wildlife and fisheries department but it has refused to accept damages.

The department has informed Iesco that Mirpur Zoo serves as the sole captive breeding centre in the area and the installation of a transmission line will harm animals, birds and their breeding process.

“The zoo is an AJK-government project costing Rs85.083 million and 50 per cent work on it has been completed,” reads an official response sent by the AJK government to Iesco in response to its dispatch.

The AJK government has also told Iesco that the Mirpur Zoo is the only recreational site for the people of adjacent areas and if the transmission line is allowed to pass through, it will create a negative impact on visitors.

The AJK government has also asked Iesco to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment report to the AJK Environmental Protection Agency to justify its stance on installing the tower in that specific location.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015. 

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