Lahore High Court imposes strict timings on cafes to fight smog

Lahore high Court issues cafe timings smog lahore

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a directive on Friday mandating the closure of all cafes in Lahore Johar Town by 10 pm on weekdays.

However, the court granted permission for cafes to operate until 11 pm on weekends, accompanied by a stern warning of closure in the event of non-compliance.

Justice Shahid Karim issued these orders during the hearing of petitions filed by Haroon Farooq and others, addressing concerns about ineffective measures to control smog.

The court directed its attention to the counsel of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), expressing apprehensions about ongoing construction activities in the city and underscoring the necessity of taking action to combat smog.

During the proceedings, the court questioned the director general of the Environment Department regarding sealed industrial units.

In response, the lawyer from the Judicial Environment and Water Commission informed the LHC that factories had been de-sealed under the Environmental Tribunal.

The director general assured the court that strict action would be taken against any officer engaged in illegal activities.

When responding to an LHC inquiry about actions taken so far, he mentioned summoning each officer to clarify the de-sealing of factories.

In response, the LHC asserted that any request for the de-sealing of a factory should be presented to the court.

The court made it clear that no officer has the authority to de-seal a factory without court approval, cautioning against contempt of court notices for environment officers.

Furthermore, the court underscored the urgency of implementing measures to promote cycling, noting an upcoming cycling rally.

Read more: Minister speaks out in favour of electric vehicles to fight smog in Lahore

The provincial government lawyer informed the court about the scheduled Sunday cycling rally on Lahore Mall Road.

In other news, the Lahore High Court has received a comprehensive report from the Punjab government outlining its initiatives to combat smog.

The report highlights that 6,700 units faced closure for breaching smog-related regulations.

Over a three-month period, a thorough inspection of approximately 60,000 small and large units resulted in the sealing of more than 6,700 due to violations.

During the intensified crackdown on smog, fines exceeding Rs129 million were levied, with 540 cases registered against those contributing to smog, leading to the arrest of 118 individuals, as detailed in the report.

Specifically, 735 smoke-emitting factories in the Lahore division and 187 brick kilns were sealed.

The report specifies fines amounting to Rs8.6 million for burning crop residue, with 216 cases registered for setting fire to crop stubble.

In contrast, despite these measures, the air quality index of Lahore measured around 211 shortly after noon.

This development caused the city to drop to the third position on the list of the most polluted cities globally, marking a significant shift from its previous consistent ranking in the first and second spots due to hazardous air pollution levels.

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