Home News Analysis Cement Factories to stop using fresh water near Katas Raj, SC rules

Cement Factories to stop using fresh water near Katas Raj, SC rules

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 17th of July, barred cement production units located in the vicinity of Katas Raj temple in Chakwal from consuming fresh drinking water for their activities.

A two-member bench presided by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar continued the hearing of the suo moto case that was taken up last year in correspondence with depleted water in Katas Raj pond in Chakwal owing to the to cement factories’ operations which had sucked the underground water below dangerous level.

The case was earlier disposed of by the apex court in May this year when the factories had assured that they would arrange alternative sources of water and pay for the water they would use. As the court’s order was not implemented in letter and spirit, the apex court re-opened the case.

The chief justice had earlier announced that a deadline will be given to the cement factories and after that they’ll have to make an alternate arrangement for their water requirement.

During the proceedings, the CJP commented that the cement factories were consuming water worth millions of rupees without paying their fair share of dues. The government needs to levy taxes and fines on the factories and if the government fails to comply then the court would do that itself, the CJP said. The bench while summoning all the relevant record adjourned the case till August 1.

In May, The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Bestway Cement and DG Khan Cement will find an alternate source of water. The two companies also deposited Rs2 billion as a security deposit and agreed to pay for the water they use from now on. The decision comes after a drawn-out probe into the Katas Raj temple drying up. Analysts have commented that while this decision will have a positive outcome, the factories seem to have escaped heavier penalties, GVS earlier reported.

Read more: Katas Raj at ease: SC orders Cement factories to find water…

However, they had been given six months to find an alternate to Katas Raj pond that has nearly dried up due to heavy consumption by these companies. The market was expecting a penalty for the water these companies have already consumed last year, said an analyst. According to UBL Funds’ research analyst Anjali Rawlani, the companies must establish their alternate source of water in a six-month period.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 17th of July, barred cement production units located in the vicinity of Katas Raj temple in Chakwal from consuming fresh drinking water for their activities.

 

The installation of the pipeline is expected to cost around Rs2 to 2.5 billion while establishing a reservoir similar to Katas Raj pond size would cost around Rs100-150 million. The pond occupies an area of around 15,000 square feet with a maximum depth of 20 feet, a local publication reported. Until the new target of establishing a reservoir is achieved, the companies would be paying Punjab government for the water they use.

Read more: Shehbaz reviews shutdown order of cement factories at Katas Raj temple

According to legends, the pond in Katas Raj was created from the tears of the Hindu god Shiva as he flew across the sky, shedding tears for his dead wife Sati.

The chief justice had earlier announced that a deadline will be given to the cement factories and after that they’ll have to make an alternate arrangement for their water requirement. The bench had also used a stern tone against the Evacuee Trust Property Board’s (ETPB) chairman Siddiqul Farooq for holding the position longer than his tenure. Later on, the Supreme Court bench fired Siddiqul Farooq from ETPB chair, GVS earlier reported.


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