Present Ravi Project master plan or face consequences, LHC directs govt – The News International

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Punjab government to present the master plan of Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RRUDP). .ads_between_content{ height:auto; width:auto; clear: both; text-align: center; } .ads_between_content .story_ads{ } /*@media (max-width:600px){ .ads_between_content{ float:none; margin:0px auto; text-align: center; } }*/

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A government’s law officer claimed that the master plan was made in June 2021, however, Justice Shahid Karim doubted the claim.
The judge observed had there been a master plan of the project, the lawyers of the provincial government or the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda) would have produced it along with their written statements. The judge also expressed displeasure over the government for starting the process of land acquisition much before the approval of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project.
On behalf of the petitioners against the project, Advocate Sheraz Zaka told the court that the Ruda itself admitted in its reply that the EIA was still pending before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and yet land had been acquired. Justice Karim said apparently in the matter the process had been taking place in a haphazard manner and the respondents, including Ruda and government, were not recognising the fact that there was an elephant in the room. The judge directed the government to produce the master plan or else it would face the consequences on the next date of hearing on Sept 29.
Earlier, the Ruda filed its reply saying the acquisition of land was very much within the purview of public purposes. It says the authority has been created to evolve policy and programmes for the purposes of housing, including but not limited to traffic, transportation, health, education, water supply, sewerage, rain age and solid waste disposal. It states that although the issue of smog is dealt by the Punjab Disaster Management Authority, the Ruda is going to rehabilitate water aquifer in the dying River Ravi and creating huge water reservoir of 270 billion littre through lakes and barrages at the edge of mega city like Lahore.
“This sole step would curtail smog in the air,” the Ruda claimed, adding the project was also aimed at upgrading the environment by way of plantation of more than six million trees besides the urban forest. The Ruda claims that the reservations shown by the petitioners against the project are misconceived and based upon mere apprehensions. The petitioners challenged the mode and manner of the land acquisition proceedings undertaken by Ruda for the project.
They said the land acquisition collector, despite a protest by the landowners, passed 18 awards on a single day amounting to multiple billion rupees. The petitioners also challenged the legality of forceful acquisitions of land for commercial purposes under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
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