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LHC adjourns plea against denial of NOC to build LPG plant

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LAHORE: Justice Ayesha A Malik of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday gave time to some of the respondents till the second week of May for filing reply to a petition challenging local authorities’ denial to issue a no objection certificate (NOC) for establishing an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) storage plant near Rana Town.Assistant Advocate General Saima Khalid submitted reply and comments on behalf of the Ferozewala tehsil municipal administration (TMA) and sought more time to submit reply on behalf of the Sheikhupura district coordination officer (DCO) and the local government secretary.The TMA took the plea that the NOC had been rightly refused to the petitioner, Messrs LUB Gas (Private) Limited.The petitioner’s counsel Mohammad Azhar Siddique said that the NOC was refused without any cogent reasons. He said that the petitioner had invested Rs600 million for building Pakistan’s largest LPG storage plant in order to help overcome energy crisis. He said that provincial authorities had declined to issue the NOC merely on political grounds and that an NOC had been issued to another applicant in the vicinity. Therefore, he said, it was a case of discrimination under Article 25 of the constitution.He said that right to business was a fundamental right but that it was being violated in the case because of TMA, DCO and local government secretary’s refusal to issue the NOC.He also said that the Punjab government had not yet filed reply to the petition.The petitioner had challenged the Punjab Land Use (Classification,Re-Classification and Re-Development) Rules, 2009, and said that it wanted to establish the LPG storage with investment of over Rs600 million that would be the largest facility of its kind in the country and would help minimise gas shortage. The petitioner said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had already issued a licence and had asked it to approach the TMO in order to obtain the NOC.It said that the TMO as well as the Punjab government had not issued the NOC despite the fulfilment of formalities and that the denial to issue the NOC was a violation of Article 18 and 25 of the constitution.

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