ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed a cement factory to fill up the pond of the Katas Raj Temple within seven days.
Headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge bench of the apex court gave this direction while hearing the suo motu case pertaining to the Katas Raj Temple pond.
CJP Nisar had taken cognizance of media reports about a number of cement factories playing havoc with environment, and drying up the temple complex, located near Kallar Kahar, by sucking water through drill bores.
The bench directed the cement manufacturing unit to immediately shut down one of its turbines until further orders.
The bench directed the Punjab government to come up with a report outlining procedure adopted for allowing a cement factory to operate in the province.
“We will not allow cement factories to operate at the cost of the health of the people,” the CJP said noting that they were playing havoc with the lives of the people.
At the outset of the hearing, CJP Nisar asked the counsel for a cement factory how much water is utilized on daily basis, how much cement is manufactured and how much a factory is allowed to produce as per permit.
Some 80 thousand gallons of water is consumed by a factory, a representative of the cement factory told the judges.
CJP Nisar said the court will order closure of the factories in the area if they found to be playing havoc with environment and health of the people.
Factories sucked water through drill bores, which resulted in sever reduction in the level of subsoil water, causing hardships to the local residents, observed one of the members of the bench.
Why the authorities have not set a limit for water consumption by cement factories, he said and noted that Potohar plateau already faces water shortage.