LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday rejected the review petition of Punjab government against the stay order on the construction of Qadirabad 2X-660 MW Coal Fired Power Project in Sahiwal district.

The Punjab government had filed the petition to vacate the stay on the construction of the project – which the government had used as a slogan in its by-election campaigns.

Advocate General Punjab Naveed Rasool submitted that the power generation is the need of the hour and pleaded the court to vacate the stay.

However, Justice Masud Abid Naqvi of the LHC dismissed the petition and upheld the interim order of the court.

Previously, Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of the LHC had stayed the construction of the project in Sahiwal on a petition filed by Said Power Limited and others.

Advocate Munawar-us-Salam and Waleed Khalid appeared on behalf of the petitioner company and submitted that the government had started building a project which is an open threat to the environment. The government should have consulted and obtained confirmation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) but it did not do so, the petitioners’ counsel argued.

The petitioners argued that the government also did not consider the law on the subject and nor did it maintain the international standard, so that the environment could have been made safe. They told the judge that the petitioner-company being a power generating and distribution company is located only 3.5 kilometers away from the project site.

The government should have maintained the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) but it did not do so, the petitioners further argued. They told the judge that the world was abandoning the use of coal fired power plants to obtain power but in Pakistan the situation is totally different where a technology which is threatening to the environment is being adopted.

The petitioners also contended that the establishment of the project would destroy the agricultural land and would badly affect the health of the local people in Sahiwal. They prayed the court to order the government to stop the building of Coal Fired Power Project.

The court adjourned the hearing for Oct 28 and directed the registrar office to consolidate all identical petitions on the matter for the next hearing.

Notice to govt: The Lahore High Court yesterday issued notice to the Punjab government in a petition challenging discretionary powers of the Punjab Chief Minister regarding the allotment of plots among the government officials. The Court adjourned further hearing until Nov 16.

Akmal Khan, a deputy registrar of the Lahore High Court, filed the petition and pointed out that the Punjab chief minister is using his discretionary powers to allot these residences to the government officials.

The petitioner said that it was against the merit. He said the CM had allotted 697 residences against the merit using his discretionary powers.

The petitioner said due to discretionary powers of the CM, officers of the LHC and other courts are being deprived of government residences.

He prayed the court to declare allotment of residences under discretionary powers as illegal and they should be allotted on merit.