LAHORE - The Lahore High Court has ordered the Punjab Chief Secretary to take immediate steps for setting up the Bioremediation Project in River Ravi.

During yesterday’s hearing, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah ordered the chief secretary to proceed with the recommendations of the River Ravi Commission to protect the fundamental rights of the citizen of Lahore and the aquatic life in River Ravi.

The court also ordered submission of an interim report within one month.

Previously, the River Ravi Commission was directed to hold a meeting to re-evaluate the initiation of the Bioremediation Project, consider the current status and cost of River Ravi Front Development Project proposed by LDA.

The Commission submitted its report that there is no objection to setting up of the project proposed by the commission. The commission stated that Bioremediation Project is a home grown solution to clean polluted water entering into River Ravi while the overall cost of the Project is approximately Rs.50-milion and does not involve the development of any major infrastructure as it simply comprises water ponds. Total area required to set up the project is 50 acres of land.

The counsel of LDA submitted that the River Ravi Project has a total cost of over $3 billion. He further submitted that total land required for the project is around 300-acres and the said land has yet to be acquired under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

The counsel of the petitioners/Secretary to the River Ravi Commission Ahmad Rafay Alam pointed out that the commission in its last meeting inquired about the status of the River Ravi Front Development Project and according to the information received, neither PC-1 has been prepared for the said Project nor EIA of the Project has been undertaken. He further submitted that seven components of the proposed River Ravi Project pertain to waste management but none of them has yet been initiated.

The WASA representative told that as far as 50 acres of land for the Bioremediation Project is concerned, it is already in possession of WASA, therefore, till such time River Ravi Front Development Project is materialised, Bioremediation Project can be put in place with only 0.16% of the cost of the River Ravi Front Development Project. Further hearing adjourned until Jan 13, 2016.