LHC vacates stay against coal-fired power project

The court was told that the govt had not obtained an EIA report

Rana Tanveer November 01, 2015
Lahore High Court. PHOTO: LHC.GOV.PK

LAHORE: Last week, the Lahore High Court (LHC) vacated a stay order against a coal-fired power plant in Sahiwal.

On October 29, Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of the LHC vacated the stay on the request of the Punjab government against the 2X-660 megawatts (MW) Qadirabad Coal Fired Power Project.

The government lawyer stated that the project aimed at reducing electricity shortage in the country. “Power generation is the need of the hour. The court should vacate the stay so that the project can be completed within the stipulated time,” he said. The counsel said the government faced financial losses due to the delay in the start of the project. Justice Sheikh allowed the government to resume construction work on the site and adjourned the hearing till November 24.

A petition against the construction of the power plant had been moved by Saif Power Limited and others.

Advocates Munawarus Salam and Waleed Khalid had appeared on behalf of the petitioners and stated that the government had started work on a project that constituted an obvious threat to the environment. “The government should have obtained an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and waited for its approval, but it did not do so,” the counsel said. They said that the government had followed neither the relevant law nor international standards.“The petitioner is a power generation and distribution company, located only 3.5 kilometres away from the project site,” the counsel said.

“The government should have maintained the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS), but it did not do so,” they said. They stated that many countries were discontinuing the use of coal-fired power plants.

The counsel said that the establishment of the project would ruin agricultural land in the area and affect the health of local people. They had requested the court to order the government to stop construction on the project.

Pro-vice chancellor

Last week, the LHC issued a notice to King Edward Medical College University on a petition challenging the appointment of Prof Dr Saeed Qazi as pro-vice chancellor.

The petitioner, Advocate Chaudhry Shoaib Saleem, said that the vice-chancellor had appointed Qazi in violation of seniority and merit. “Dr Qazi does not have the required experience to hold the office. His appointment will affect the standard of education in the university,” he said.

After hearing the initial arguments, Justice Syed Manoor Ali Shah of the LHC issued notices to the Punjab government and the King Edward Medical College University to submit their replies until November 17.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2015.



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