Clifton traffic project: SHC extends stay against SEPA EIA approval

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday extended its stay order on execution of environmental impact assessment (EIA) report issued by Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) till September 4 whereby it approved the controversial mega traffic project that included construction of a flyover and two underpasses in the Clifton area.
Defence Housing Authority (DHA) approached the court, challenging SEPA’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report that accorded its approval to the project. 
The counsel for DHA submitted that DHA had filed a lawsuit against the Bahria Town’s mega traffic project launched in Clifton area.
A single bench of the SHC had allowed the DHA’s lawsuit while ruling that all construction work in relation to the project be immediately stopped. The bench had asked the KMC to seek a mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) report from SEPA on the project. Subsequently, SEPA issued EIA approving the project on August 5.
The counsel told the judges that during a public hearing on the project, DHA officials, residents and representatives of the Hindu community raised their objections over the project as the project encroached the Jehangir Kothari Parade, a heritage site, and will also cause damage to the historical structures of Sri Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple and Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in the vicinity.
But their objections were not taken into account prior to the issuance of the EIA report. The court was requested to declare the EIA report illegal. A division bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah adjourned the matter till September 4 for want of time. 

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