ATTOCK   -   The local administration has sealed as many as 13 stone crushers for illegally quar­rying limestone in Babar­ki Pathargarh area of Has­sanabdal causing serious threat to environment, sen­sitive installations and min­erals and causing loss of mil­lions of rupees to national kitty through expired lease.

Deputy Commission­er Ishrat Ullah Khan Niazi along with assistant com­missioner, assistant direc­tor mines and minerals and officials of Environment Protection Agency visit­ed the site of stone crush­ers’ plant area comprising 46.03 acres and ordered immediate suspension of il­legal quarrying in the area.

“An FIR has also been lodged under section 337 PPC against the owner of a stone crusher plant for vi­olation of the ban imposed by the administration,” he added. “We have sealed all the 13 stone crushing plants working in the vicin­ity of Babarki area of Has­sanabdal on Friday besides blocked the access to these plants by establishing ob­stacles so that no produc­tion could go out of the premises besides the IESCO authorities are being direct­ed to suspend power sup­ply to these plants without any further delay.” Assis­tant commissioner Adnan Anjum Raja said this while talking to media persons here on Friday.

He said that the local ad­ministration with collabo­ration of other relevant au­thorities like civil defence, mines and minerals depart­ment would also carry out audit of the explosive li­censes of these stone crush­ers as these stone crushing plants are quarrying on ex­pired explosive licenses.

Raja said that Punjab Mines and Minerals De­partment had auctioned the limestone block compris­ing 46.03 acres in 2006. He said that the 10-year lease of quarrying had expired in 2016 but lease hold­ers went to court for stay for lease which was decid­ed in 2017. Consequent­ly, Assistant Director Mines And Minerals Attock had stopped the stone crushers for quarrying limestone but they continued although is­suance of no objection cer­tificate was still pending with the Environment Pro­tection Agency Punjab.

Responding to anoth­er question, Raja said that Deputy Commissioner Ishrat Ullah Khan Niazi has constituted a four-member committee comprising as­sistant commissioner, as­sistant director mines and minerals, survey and draw­ing officer mines and min­erals department Rawal­pindi and surveyor mines and minerals department Attock had been formed to assess the quantum of loss caused to government on account of illegal excavation of limestone in the area. He said that local administra­tion has also taken stock of persons with dubious iden­tity who were carrying out mining activities in the vi­cinity of Cadet College Has­sanabdal. “The principal of college has also expressed his reservation over the activities and taken up the issue with the governor,” he added.

Punjab PAC chief for highlighting MEAs’ problems in PA

Public Accounts Commit­tee Punjab Chairman Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari has said that he would high­light the problems and in­justices done to monitoring and evaluation assistants (MEA) working in Chief Minister Monitoring Force on the floor of Punjab As­sembly.

He said he will also dis­cuss this issue with Chief Minister Punjab Sard­ar Usman Buzdar. He said this while talking to me­dia persons after having a detailed meeting with Director Monitoring. He said that more than one thousand MEAs had been working across Punjab since 2004 on contract ba­sis and neither their ser­vices had been regular­ised nor given any other monetary benefits, which was a great injustice and beyond comprehension.

He said that because of the tireless and sincere ef­forts and professionalism of MEAs, there was a tremen­dous improvement in edu­cation sector but the MEAs were continuously being ig­nored. Bukhari said that the services of MEAs were being appreciated and being ac­knowledged at higher level but facilities were not being given to them and even the families of those MEAs who died during the services had not been compensated.

He said that he had di­rected Director Monitoring to prepare a summary in this context, which he will present to the Chief Minis­ter Punjab and on the floor of Punjab Assembly as well.

Earlier, PAC Punjab chair­man had a detailed meeting with Director Monitoring and discussed the problems being faced by MEAs.