LAHORE Feb 12 (TNS): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has assured the Supreme Court that a comprehensive plan to address the issues of untreated effluent discharge into rivers, provision of clean drinking water and disposal of hospital waste would be submitted in the court within three weeks.
The chief minister made the assurance before a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who was hearing several suo motu notices of public importance here at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry.
As the proceedings began, the chief justice observed that these proceedings were not of adverse nature but a collective effort to settle the issues besides acknowledging the arrival of the chief minister on court’s call.
Amicus Curie Advocate Ayesha Hamid submitted a report on discharge of untreated effluent into rivers from Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Gujranawala and Faisalabad. She submitted that every day 540 million gallons of effluent was being discharged into river Ravi from Lahore, whereas Faisalabad produces 290 million gallons, Rawalpindi 96 million gallons, Gujranawala 162 million gallons and Multan 230 million gallons and the same was discharged into rivers.
She mentioned that Faisalabad had a treatment plant, which treats almost six per cent of effluent and almost a third of effluent was treated in Multan before discharge into rivers. She also apprised the bench about Punjab government’s plan of installing six treatment plants in Lahore with the help of Asian Development Bank and others.
At this, the chief justice asked the chief minister to suggest measures to settle the issue. He also expressed his reservations over outsourcing of hospitals’ waste disposal in the province.
To which, the chief minister submitted that his government was making all-out efforts to serve masses, and it had gone beyond the call of duty. Shehbaz Sharif said that he believes in transparency and his government had managed to save billions of rupees in various mega projects.
He apprised the court about the energy projects, initiated in the province and submitted that they were installed on almost half the cost compared with Guddu power project. To a court query, he said that emissions from Sahiwal coal-fire plant were below the international limits. He also sought three weeks’ time to come up with plans to address the issues raised by the court.
Adjourning the hearing, the bench also drew the attention of the chief minister towards contaminated water issue. The chief justice also remarked during the hearing that general elections would be held in a fair and transparent manner.