LAHORE -  Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah yesterday ordered Director General, Environmental Protection Agency, to make the Central Environmental Laboratory operational positively within next three months.

The court also directed the DG and the Chief Secretary to submit performance report on the EPA after a month. The order has been passed on a petition filed earlier to seek the central laboratory functional, as it was mandatory under the law to control the environment hazards.

EPA Director General Javed Iqbal submitted to the court that Rs158 million has been allocated for the labs and PC-1 of the plan is also prepared. Within one month, he added, the labs would be functional in light of the earlier passed order of this court.

The CJ also directed the Punjab chief secretary to inform the court after one month as to the period the labs would take to become totally functional.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka, on behalf of petitioners Zubair Niazi and Muhammad Naeem, submitted that the government has ratified that Paris Agreement in 1992 and 2015 promising pollution of all sorts will be controlled through implementation of law and developing a mechanism.

The counsel maintained that the city was becoming one of the most polluted cities but the public functionaries were neglecting their duties in this regard. “The environmental protection agency is functioning without a central lab,” he said while citing one such example.

Zaka said that fundamental rights of citizens about clean environment are at stake.

CJ Shah observed that the central lab should be fully made functional in order to enforce the Pollution Charge Rules 2001 and adjourned the hearing for a month.