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The News

Published Date: Jun 9, 2013

Citizens resent anti-environment encroachment

Lodging
strong protest over encroachments in Korang Nullah bed, the citizens have
appealed to the authorities to stop indiscriminate illegal construction posing
serious threat to environment and potable water availability in Rawal Dam.

There
are numerous residential and commercial constructions underway in Korang Nullah
bed and Rawal Lake catchment area near Shahpur, Mauza Phulgaran, but the
concerned authorities turned a blind eye to this ecological disaster, alleged
the citizens and relevant stakeholders here on Friday.

Pointing
specifically towards a recent and most damaging development, the residents
highlighted the encroachment through extension in existing constructions and
new commercial projects like a 5-storey building whose initial excavation and
foundation work has been completed inside the river bed.

These
encroachments are not only altering the natural habitat of the Korang River but
will also pollute the Korang Nullah, which is a source of potable water for
millions of people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Environmental
experts at Sustainable Development Policy Institute showed reservations over
the situation calling it a serious violation of Environmental Act 1997 and
other relevant ecological regulations of the country.

Commenting,
Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Senior Environmental Researcher at SDPI, referred
to IEE/EIA Regulation 2000 under Section 12 of Pakistan Environmental
Protection Act 1997 which clearly states requirement of Environment Impact
Assessment for new projects or extension works pertaining to ecologically
sensitive areas.

He
highlighted CDA Zoning Regulation 2005, which provides clear guideline for ‘un-acquired areas’ in its section (h) of B on page-8. According to him, the
zoning regulation says that “no construction of houses and expansion of
settlements shall be allowed in areas adjoining water bodies, lakes and
reservoirs. The extent of such areas shall only be determined after proper
hydrological survey.” He pointed out that SDPI team visited the area and confirmed
gross encroachments. He said that these illegal encroachment and construction
put serious threat not only to sensitive ecological area of Korang River but
may spread waterborne diseases in twin cities.

The
citizens of the area also lodged a written complaint to Environmental
Protection Agency to look into the matter and stop these constructions.