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Daily Times

Published Date: Jun 10, 2013

Encroachments threaten environment on Korang River

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

"The citizens and relevant stakeholders alleged that there are numerous
residential and commercial constructions underway in Korang River Bed and Rawal
Lake catchments area near Shahpur, Mauza Phulgaran but the authorities
concerned have turned a blind eye to this ecological disaster", said a press
release issued on Friday.

Pointing specifically to a recent and most damaging development, the residents
highlighted the encroachments through extension in existing constructions and
new commercial projects like construction of a five storey building whose
initial excavation and foundation work has been completed inside the river bed.
The encroachments are not only altering the natural habitat of Korang River,
but will also pollute the Korang River, which is a source of potable water for
millions of people in twin cities. Environmental experts at Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) have shown reservations on the situation,
terming it a serious violation of Environmental Act 1997 and relevant
ecological regulations of the country. Commenting on the relevant laws, SDIP
Senior Environmental Researcher Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal referred to IEE/EIA
Regulation 2000 under Section 12 of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997
which clearly states requirement of EIA for new projects or extension works
pertaining to ecological sensitive areas.

He further highlighted the ‘CDA Zoning Regulation 2005’, which he said provides
clear guideline for un-acquired areas in its section ‘h’ of B on page 8. He
said that 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. Javed Iqbal informed that SDPI team has visited the area
and confirmed gross encroachments in the area. "These illegal encroachment and
construction puts serious threat not only to sensitive ecological area of
Korang River but spread waterborne diseases in twin cities," he added. app