Sindh Legislation to protect Illegal Construction to Great Amazon Deforestation; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

November 21, 2021

Sindh Assembly Legislate to Protect Illegal Construction

The Sindh Assembly this week passed a resolution with a majority vote of government members seeking legislation to protect illegally constructed buildings across the province and `disciplinary` action against delinquent officials who allowed such constructions over the years.

The resolution says, “That it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that citizens` property and investment is secured and that they continue to have confidence with the official documents issued by the different government organizations. . . . . That the government, in the best interest of the populace should present a law before this august house in light of the instant resolution to secure, protect and regularize such homes all over the province and recommend disciplinary action against delinquent officials who allowed such constructions over the years,` the resolution concluded.

A treasury bench MPA Ghazala Sial justified the resolution by stating that people bought flats in Nasla Tower for millions of rupees but now they were standing nowhere after the demolition order. The opposition, however, rejected the treasury members` resolution saying that they could not support it as it was against the orders of the Supreme Court and aimed to protect `thieves and robbers`.

Great Amazon Deforestation

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest rose by almost 22% in one year, the highest level in 15 years. The 13,235 square kilometres of forest lost from August 2020 to July 2021 period was the largest swath since 14,286sq-kms were cleared in 2005-06, according to an estimate by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE.

Brazil was among the signatories to an international pledge made at the COP26 summit in Glasgow to end deforestation by 2030. Brazil Environment Minister Joaquim Leite admitted the figures represented “a challenge” and vowed to be “more forceful against environmental crimes”.

LSM Construction Sector Declines

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data released this week the growth in Large-Scale Manufacturing production slowed down to 1.19% in September, which is the lowest in the current fiscal year. The share of construction sector is sizable in this declination. As cement output dipped by 2.44% despite the fact that there is a greater demand following the start of construction activities and increase in exports. Similarly the production of paints and varnishes declined by 7.9%.

However, in the steel sector, billets and ingots posted growth of 15.34% despite the recent rise in prices by Rs 3,000- Rs 5,000 after November 15, surging it to Rs 192,500-Rs 195,500 per ton.

Lahore Air Quality & Anti- Smog Squad

The city of Lahore again topped the list of cities with most polluted air in the world as its air quality levels turned hazardous. The provincial metropolis recorded particulate matter (PM) rating of 386 in the afternoon that classified the city under the `hazardous` category of air quality.

Individual areas of Lahore fared worse, with Kot Lakhpat (industrial area) crossing 450, besides Anarkali Bazaar, Township and Fatehgarh over 300 AQL. Meanwhile, the district administration continued its anti-smog activities by checking 43 industrial units in the city and sealing 21 of them for creating pollution and emitting smoke.

That has led the district administration constituted five `anti-smog squads` to monitor pollution levels in the provincial metropolis and take action against those contributing to the hazardous air quality index. The deputy director (Environment) would be the focal person of the squads and inspector (environment) would lead them. Every squad would visit 60 industrial (furnace/boilers) units in a week and seal the industrial units using substandard fuel or generating smoke. The squads would also check the status of the pollution monitoring devices and compliances of Judicial Environmental Commission measures while those burning of solid/green waste would be penalized.

Restraining DHA for Land Reclamation

In a hearing this week the Sindh High Court has continued its earlier interim restraining order for the Defense Housing Authority (DHA) from reclaiming further land from the shore and granting such land to anyone as well as creating a third-party interest till 1st of December. On Oct 23, the bench had directed the DHA and other official defendants to ensure that the land earlier sanctioned to them as public spaces was not used for any commercial and gainful purposes.

The bench had also ordered the official assignee to inspect the reclaimed land being used by the DHA and furnish a report with photographs and maps of the land with the assistance of Karachi Urban Lab or National Institute of Oceanography. The bench, however, noted that in compliance to its last order, certain actions had been done by the official assignee, but the report had not been filed.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment