The Supreme Court on Friday accepted the petition, seeking installation of power crusher plants in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa for hearing and allowed two months’ time to the existing plants to meet the necessary rules and standards. However, the apex court bench, comprising Justice Atta Umar Bandial and Justice Munib Akhtar observed during the course of proceedings that amendments to rules were made without data or research, justifying the grounds of annulment of new rules by Peshawar High Court..
Justice Munib Akhtar said that Peshawar High Court has pointed that these rules were unfair and the right of the people were being affected, while referring to the disparity between the limit of safe distance suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency and the one fixed in new rules enacted by the provincial government. The Agency has fixed two kilometer as safe distance for installation of crusher plants away from the prescribed locations, whereas the new rules fix the limit of 500 meter for urban areas and 300 meters for rural areas.
Section 7 of the Khyber Power Crusher (Installation, Operation and Regulation) Act 2020 envisages that power crushers should be installed at a safe distance from the prescribed locations such as human dwellings, mosques, schools, hospitals, canals, tunnels, transmission lines and other strategic locations. If the advice of Environmental Protection Agency of fixing two kilometer safe distance has been ignored, then crushers plants run by fossil fuel like diesel will exacerbate the issue of environmental pollution, affecting the health of the people. The recommendations of this agency should have been accommodated, while framing new law for power crusher installation.