SC allows 2-month time to KP crusher plants to meet rules

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted the petition, seeking installation of power crushers plant in Kh-uber Pakhtoonkhwa (KP) for hearing and accorded two-month time to the plants to meet the necessary rules and standards.

A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Munib Akhtar, heard the case and issued notices to the respondents.

During the course of proceedings, the court observed that serious points of environmental pollution had been raised in the Suraj Gali area of KP.

The bench also observed that new amendments to the rules were made without data or research. The decision of the High Court was also accurate and the grounds were appropriate, it added.

The Advocate General KP said that the first power crusher plants were regulated in 1995. Plants could not be installed to one kilometer from schools, colleges, hospitals, canals, sensitive areas and human populations, he added. He said that the impact of crushers on the environment was also taken into account. There were three points to consider when installing power crushers, he added. He said that by law, noise pollution must be up to 55 decibels and vibration of plants should not exceed 3.5 mm per second.

The effects of environmental pollution were reviewed in the third point, he added. He said that according to the new law, a limit of 500 meters had been fixed in the urban area while in the rural area, permission was given to install plants after 300 meters.

He said that the KP government formed a cabinet committee to review the distances of the crushers in 2017. The committee proposed a boundary of 500 meters for the urban area and 300 meters for the rural area, he added. He said that no plant could be set up without the permission of the gas pipeline company and the archeology department. He said that the Peshawar High Court annulled new amendments.

Justice Munib Akhtar said that the new rules did not define canals, cemeteries, roads, sensitive areas, pipelines and others. The counsel replied that dictionary meanings would be taken for all these.

He said that the purpose of keeping a distance of 300 and 500 meters was only to protect the environment from damage.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, residents could have respiratory ailments.

The counsel said that all environment related complaints had been forwarded to the Environmental Tribunal. He said that the high court annulled the rules without considering the quality of the rules.

Justice Munib Akhtar said that the PHC pointed out that these rules were unfair and the rights of local people were being affected. If the high court was saying this, then what could the Supreme Court do, he asked.

The counsel said that KP Environmental Act meant for environmental issues.

Justice Munib Akhtar said that if the environmental agency fixed two kilometres distance and the rules allowed five hundred meters distance, it would overlap. The high court had stated that old rules were fine, he added.

The counsel said that the provisional government had stopped the crushers from working who were not following guidelines.

Later, hearing of the case was adjourned till date in office.

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