ISLAMABAD (Eshfak Mughal):- Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman has opposed the proposal for Limestone Lease and Installation of 10 thousands Tone cement plant by a private company in the area of Salt Range Nature Reserve Complex in District Chakwal.

The private company Lucky Cement Private Limited proposed for Limestone Lease and installation of 10,000 Tpd in the area declared as “Salt Range Nature Reserve Complex” in Tehsil Choa Saidan Shah, District Chakwal.

The Minister said that the blasting and quarrying of raw materials is serious threat to the ecology of this rich biodiversity.

There is fear among local farmers, inhabitants and protectors of these forests that the proposed plant in addition to the five cement plants that already exist in the district are fast-depleting underground water sources that this rain-fed region desperately relies on, thus, making the area water-scarce.

According to notification issued by Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries department of Government of Punjab on 29th April 2022, the area is home to natural reserves of 1200 acres of Ara Reserve Forest, Parera Reserve Forest and Diljabba Reserve Forest holding a variety unique of flora and fauna.

Activities such as hunting wild animals, felling or tapping of trees, clearing land for cultivation and mining is strictly prohibited by law under Section 8 of the Punjab Protected Areas Act 2020 (XXIII of 2020) as declared by the Governor of Punjab.

Federal Minister Rehman stressed that the country faces a triple environmental and planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change and has lost several thousand acres of precious forest this year due to people’s activities and heatwaves.

While commenting the development, Rehman said that the government must take precaution in taking actions that will harm the very limited less than 6% of forest cover Pakistan has as it struggles to achieve its climate goals, increase protection of its biodiversity and preserving people’s livelihood while also battling the disastrous impacts of climate change.

Minister Rehman has urged Punjab Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exercise caution and conduct in-depth assessments to ensure the protected areas and people’s livelihoods as well as their natural capital is not violated by these industrial activities.

Ms. Rehman said that the cement industry can find other places for surface mining instead of putting natural reserves in jeopardy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.