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Environmental impact: SHC reserves verdict on Clifton project
10-03-2014, 05:52 PM
Post: #1
Environmental impact: SHC reserves verdict on Clifton project
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict on the legality of the environmental impact assessment approval given by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to the controversial traffic improvement plan to be executed in Clifton.
A division bench, comprising Justices Sajjad Ali Shah and Shaukat Ali Memon, reserved its order after hearing arguments from lawyers representing the petitioner Defence Housing Authority (DHA), the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the Bahria Town and provincial government law officer.
Work on the project was suspended in April when a fight between two real estate developers – Bahria Town, the project’s financer, and DHA, its countrywide competitor – over the construction’s impact on the environment landed the matter in court. DHA had challenged the EIA’s approval accorded by the Sepa to the project, comprising two underpasses and a flyover – from the Park Towers intersection to the AT Naqvi Roundabout.
Initially, it had alleged that the mandatory requirement of obtaining the environmental impact assessment approval before launching the project was not obtained from Sepa, thus the project was illegal.
On April 29, an SHC single bench had stopped constructions and ordered the project’s executor – the KMC – to obtain EIA approval and submit the same to the court for further decide the fate of the project.
On KMC’s request, Sepa later approved the project, named grade-separated traffic improvement plan, subject to all mitigation measures recommended in the EIA. The agency also directed the KMC to ensure that no damage or adverse effect was done to the Abdullah Shah Ghazi mazaar, Ratneshwar Mahadev temple, Jehangir Kotari Pavilion and Parade, Lady Lloyd Pier. In case of any damage, the KMC will be responsible for entire rehabilitation work of the inherited buildings and structures.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2014.
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