The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) to increase the fines imposed on domestic and commercial consumers over the indiscriminate use of clean water.
Furthermore, industrial units should be fined a minimum of Rs.1 million over repeated violations, LHC ordered. The directive was issued by Justice Shahid Karim of LHC during the hearing of smog-related cases.
Following the court’s orders, commercial and domestic users will be fined Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 10,000, respectively for wasting water. Additionally, officials have been warned of strict action if factories were found to be polluting the air in their areas.
Justice Karim also ordered to sealing of such factories and the matter regarding unsealing them should be referred to a judicial commission. The court was informed by the Environmental Protection Department director-general that smoke-emitting factories were unsealed by the owners themselves allegedly in collusion with officials.
He added that environmental officers were asked to submit an affidavit, warning them about potential consequences for those found violating the orders.
Moreover, action had been initiated against environmental officers in compliance with the court’s orders. A member of the judicial commission accused officials of taking bribes, adding that factories polluting the environment operate during night time.
Lahore Development Authority’s (LDA) lawyer also drew the court’s ire over the extended renovation work in the underpasses of the city canal. The judge remarked that ‘nowhere in the world the underpasses are decorated like this.’