LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Wednesday ordered the suspension of construction work of Coal Power Project at BRB canal near Indian Border and referred the matter to the chief justice to constitute a full bench for further proceedings.

A number of residents of the area and Lahore Press Club have challenged the project. The petitioners stated that on June 10, 2015 the Punjab government acquired 1188 kanal and 5 marla land in Moza Khaira and Sultan Pura to establish Small Coal Power Project. “It is purely a residential area and more than 1.2 million people are living in these areas,” they stated in their petition.

They submitted this project is dangerous to the health of the residential of the adjoining areas as well as dangerous to the environment. Acquisition of the land is also against their basic rights, they maintained.

“This project is being constructed in the area of International border with India and this area is declared as prohibited area by the ministry of defence,” a counsel on behalf of the petitioners told the court. In such a situation, no project can be carried out against the public welfare and at the cost of environmental loss, he added.

The counsel of the Lahore Press Club told the judge the coal plant would affect the residents of Lahore Press Club Housing Society. He feared it would make the environmentally rich area into a polluted area.

The petitioners prayed the court to declare the acquisition of land as illegal and unconstitutional. The project in residential area must be declared as illegal and against the human rights, they further requested.

They also prayed the court to stay the construction of the project till final decision on the petition.