‘On the right track’
* EPT happy over Shalamar Gardens conservation
LAHORE: The Environment Protection Tribunal (EPT) of Punjab expressed happiness on Thursday over the steps taken by the Punjab Archeology Department (PAD) and other government departments for the conservation of Shalamar Gardens.
The EPT comprising its chairperson Shehnaz Khan, member (Legal) Ghulam Rasool and member (Technical) Musarrat Baig, was hearing a case filed by Eco Watch against officials, including the director general (DG) of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), regarding the conservation of Shalamar Gardens.
DG of Archeology Shahbaz Khan said to EPT that on the previous directions of the EPT, a meeting was held with all the respondent departments wherein various decisions were made. He told the EPT that a survey was carried out to remove 106 encroached houses around the garden. He said authorities concerned had been told the cost of removing encroachments and the Town Municipal official (TMO) was also requested to take up the case and put up a report quickly.
He said the meeting also decided to shorten the route of smoke emitting rickshaws coming from Shalamar Mor to Daroghawala and the stop of rickshaws would be shifted from Shalamar Mor to Sukh Nehar. He said the superintendent of Traffic Police was also requested to issue orders to block the road in front of Shalamar Gardens.
He said the district coordination officer (DCO) had issued orders to the district officer (DO) of Solid Waste Management (SWM) to shift machinery owned by the city government.
He said Rs 23.25 million had been transferred to WASA’s managing director (MD) for making drains along the Eastern wall of Shalamar Gardens so that rainwater could be managed. He said LESCO was also requested to remove electricity poles and high-tension wires from the garden. He said PAD would bear the expenses for this task.
EPT was told that a plan would be chalked out soon to divert the GT Road because it was very close to the Southern wall of the garden, and that the city government was also requested to shift the parking lot along with the Southern wall of the garden.
Counsel for Eco Watch Imran Ahmad Bhatti argued that the EPT should direct the officials of LESCO and PAD to hold an immediate meeting so that the electric wires could be removed as early as possible. Therefore, EPT directed the respondents for to submit the report within a week and adjourned the hearing till August 3.