Pakistan

LHC orders 50% work place attendance to counter smog in Lahore

Justice Shahid Karim of Lahore High Court on Thursday ordered the Punjab government to ensure 50 percent attendance of employees in private offices at least for the next seven days due to smog situation playing havoc   in the province and turned down the suggestion to close schools in order to counter smog in Lahore.

Judge directed the provincial government to issue a notification on the same lines as the lockdown notifications during the pandemic requiring the private offices to ensure 50 per cent work from home for at least one week. Judge also directed the government to take similar measures in respect of the government offices to the extent of feasible to be implemented.

Judge ordered that government of Punjab should take necessary steps so that as many officers as possible may work from home during next week.

Judge remarked that it was insufficient that Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) alone be monitoring the proceedings with the deputy commissioners. Judge observed that a smog crisis room shall be set up in the office of the PDMA and a meeting once a day at least shall be held under the chair of judicial and environmental water commission.

Judge directed the city traffic officer to arrange one dedicated telephone line or a Whatsapp application which shall be displayed on all major roads of Lahore to help curtail traffic congestion.

Judge turned down the proposal for closure of schools in case the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeded 400 mark in a particular area, Rejecting the recommendation to close the schools. Judge observed that the closure of schools would affect the academic activities of the students who had already suffered because of the lockdowns during the pandemic.

The Judicial Water and Environmental Commission had recommended closing down schools in smoggy areas. However, the court did not agree.

Judge directed the motorway police to be involved to check stubble burning on the M-2 motorway.

A report was submitted regarding the recommendations made at a meeting held between the judicial commission and at the WASA headquarters attended by the officials of the PDMA, agriculture and environment departments.

 Judge put of further hearing till Friday (today) a number of petitions on the provincial government’s failure to appropriately deal with environmental issues.

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