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Published Date: Jul 17, 2013

SDPI Press Release (July 17, 2013)

Construction
of illegal structures is in full swing in Korang Nullah near Rawal Dam,
in clear violation of legal orders by Federal Environmental Protection
Agency (FEPA).

After
the protest from residents and civil society, the FEPA took strong
notice of illegal construction activities in the Korang Nullah bed and
Rawal Lake catchment area.  The FEPA in particular sent legal order to a
5-storey building project, requiring environmental impact study prior
to execute, which was being constructed in river bed near Shahpur, Mauza
Phulgaran, Islamabad.

However,
despite the legal order, the construction work hasn’t stopped and work
is in progress. The FEPA also issued 3 reminders and a follow-up notice
to Chief Commissioner
Islamabad Capital Territory vide letter
(F.No.2(20)/2013-DD(EIA)/19-1) for compliance with the order to cease
the activities in progress and ensure ‘Environmental Impact Assessment
study’ under section 12 of PEPA Act 1997, the law of land.

But
powerful builders are seemed to be unmoved by legal bindings. Civil
society and the residents have expressed grave concern and anger over
the continuation of construction activities by the influential groups
despite legal order and repeated reminders by FEPA and actions from
other relevant line departments.

Commenting
on the situation, Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Senior Researcher
working with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) said that “Girdawar
of the area has confirmed that land of 5-story building is part of
Korang River”, and the construction clearly violates PEPA Act 1997 and
CDA Zoning regulation, he added.

He
declared that builders have also violated FEPA order for which they can
be prosecuted under ‘contempt of court’ as it is a kind of judicial
order for which the PEPA Act 1997 provides legal cover. He added that
Pakistan Penal Code can also be invoked and the higher authorities are
responsible to stop this illegal activity on immediate basis, and carry
out Environmental Impact Assessment study in compliance with FEPA order
under PEPA Act 1997, prior to continue with.

Kanwar
Iqbal demanded strict legal actions against the project developers and
suggested civil society to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in
Supreme Court of Pakistan and launch campaign on the right of provision
of safe drinking water in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

It
is important to note that these illegal construction put serious
threats not only to sensitive ecological area of Korang Nullah but would
spread waterborne diseases by polluting the Korang River, which is a
source of potable water for millions of people in Rawalpindi and
Islamabad.