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The Frontier Post

Published Date: Jun 8, 2013

Korang River bed, Rawal Lake

Inviting
attention of the concerned authorities towards the illegal and indiscriminate
construction in Korang River bed and catchment of Rawal Lake, the citizens here
on Friday appealed to the concerned authorities to stop the illegal
construction as these are posing serious threat to environment and potable
water availability in Rawal Dam

The
citizens alleged that there are numerous residential and commercial
constructions underway in Korang River Bed and Rawal Lake catchment area near
Shahpur, Mauza Phulgaran, Islamabad but the concerned authorities have turned a
blind eye to this environmental disaster

Pointing
specifically tow­ard a recent and most damaging development, the residents
highlighted the encroachment through extension in existing constructions and
new commercial projects like construction of a 5 story 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 River, which is a source of potable water for
millions of people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The
residents of the area have also lodged a written complaint to Environmental
Protection Agency (PAK- EPA) to look into the matter and stop these
constructions. “We will not tolerate and legally fight at every possible level”
said the concerned citizens while assuring their resolve to protect their
environment.
Environmental experts have showed reservations over the situation calling it a
serious violation of Environmental Act 1997 and other relevant ecological
regulations of the country

Kanwar
Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Senior Environmental Researcher has said that these
illegal encroachment and construction puts serious threat not only to sensitive
ecological area of Korang River but spread waterborne diseases in twin cities. While
commenting on the relevant laws 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

The
expert also highlighted the ‘CDA Zoning Regulation 2005’, which according to
him 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.