LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Friday stayed signal free corridor project until March 20, and directed the Lahore Development Authority to remove all equipment, machinery/cranes on the site immediately in larger interest of public convenience.

The judge also directed the Environment Protection Department to ensure that no works would be carried out under the project in question. Lahore CCPO was also directed to render full assistance to the Environment Protection Department (EPD) for implementation of this order.

The court observed that Secretary, Environment Protection Department failed to take any action against respondent LDA or the Project Director for violating Section 12 of the Act.  

The judge sought written reply from the Environment Protection Department Secretary for not issuing notice to LDA. Moreover, the court asked LDA DG to hold a detailed inquiry as to why the project commenced and equipment was deployed on the site and construction work started without an Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) approval. The project director was also asked to submit reply. The judge permitted LDA to take necessary steps if any to facilitate the traffic flow.

Fahad Malik, a lawyer-petitioner, had challenged the said project of respondent LDA. At the outset of hearing, the petitioner-lawyer said EIA of the project had yet not been approved.

LDA counsel conceded that no EIA approval had been obtained by the LDA regarding the above project and the position taken by the representatives of the Environment Protection Department had been admitted by him.

Mahmood Ghani, P& D Law officer, said this was not a project of the provincial government and the provincial government did not allocate funds for it. The counsel for LDA stated that the project solely funded by the LDA from its own resources.

The court also appointed Waqas Ahmad Mir Advocate as an amicus curiae to assist the court on the issues and adjourned the hearing until March 20.

In another case, the Lahore High Court on Friday issued notice to Punjab government to submit reply in a petition seeking implementation of two percent quota of disable persons in government appointments.

Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) had filed the petition submitting that the blind persons were on roads again for their rights and the government completely failed to protect their rights under the law.

The petitioner prayed the court to direct the government to submit report on the implementation of 2 per cent quota of disable persons. After hearing the initial arguments, the court sought reply from March 20.