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Sindh govt objects to land reclamation by KPT
08-12-2010, 11:40 AM
Post: #1
Sindh govt objects to land reclamation by KPT
Thursday, August 12, 2010
By By Imtiaz Ali

The Sindh government has raised objection over land reclamation by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and a notice has been issued to the KPT through the Sindh chief secretary, according to Secretary Environment and Alternative Energy Mir Hussain Ali.

Giving his presentation on ‘Government’s Resolve for Coastal Protection’ at a seminar organised by Shehri-CBE and later answering questions from the audience here on Wednesday, Mir Hussain Ali said that the KPT, in its response to the government, had cited the KPT Act as its justification for land reclamation for the purpose of constructing container and towers there. Unsatisfied with the response, the government has decided to take up this issue at the highest level, he added.

He said that the provincial government has also taken up the issue of land reclamation by the Defence Housing Authority (DHA). The Sindh government has adopted a “strict policy” of not allowing any further land reclamation due to its adverse environmental impact, he said, adding it was the responsibility of the Sepa (Sindh Environmental Protection Agency) to issue notice to the DHA for the violation of concerned laws.

He called for enshrining a provision in the cantonment laws to invite public objections on the projects in its areas, as the CDGK’s laws contained such a provision.

Mir Hussain Ali described the delay in the construction of Banaras flyover for the last five years as a “strange thing” and added that five main roads were linked with this junction and a significant number of people pass through it daily, exposing themselves to health and environmental hazards.

He said he would ask the DG Sepa to issue notice to the CDGK on Thursday (today) to explain inordinate delay in this regard.

He appreciated the process of environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the projects initiated by the Sepa during the last few years, partly because of citizens’ activism. He, however, admitted that Sepa’s decisions in this regard were not based on “merit”.

He termed the S-III project “silver lining” since it would provide for improving three existing treatment plants as well as construction of new treatment plants and interceptors at Malir and Lyari rivers before discharging waste into the sea.

The secretary environment said that the cost of the project has been increased from Rs10 billion to Rs13 billion. He disclosed that the KPT was willing to release its share of funding; however, some land issue was hampering the matter. But the timely intervention has resulted in cancellation of the land allotted for two housing societies in Korangi, he added.

Mir Hussain Ali said that the chief justice of Pakistan had taken suo moto notice of industrial waste dumping in the metropolis as six industrial areas lacked combined effluent treatment plants (CETP). He admitted that in the wake of judicial intervention, the Sepa has become active against the industries discharging waste but the Sepa and his department had been facing a lot of resistance.

He said that the PC-I for constructing CETPs was under process but its funding was an issue. He hoped that the industrial associations would provide financial assistance but added it would take at least two years to construct the treatment plants.

Stressing the need for establishing an authority to look after solid waste disposal in the city, he regretted that not much was being done for utilizing waste for energy purposes as a Chinese firm had recently abandoned such project.

He opined that the issuance of notification for master plan by the CDGK and the provincial government’s policies of promoting low-cost housing, developing Katchi Abadis and considering environmental impacts were some of the recent developments that could become harbinger of what he called planned growth and development in the metropolis.

The secretary environment underlined the importance of availing the private sector expertise and taking concerned citizens and NGOs on board for sustainable development.
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