The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday ordered cement factories in Chakwal to fill up the Katas Raj temple pond within a week.
A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, is conducting a suo motu hearing based on media reports that the Katas Raj pond is drying out due to water consumption by nearby cement factories that are sucking water through a number of drill bores which have reduced the subsoil water level and the use of subsoil water by domestic users.
The Bestway Cement factory is one of the four major cement factories located in the area. The bench expressed anger over the continued absence of Bestway Cement’s lawyer, Babar Sattar.
The bench also told the Punjab government to provide details of conditions under which authorities allowed the construction of cement factories in the area along with the environmental pollution they cause in the area.
The prosecution claimed that the cement factories in the Katas Raj temple area posed risks of breast cancer and respiratory diseases among people living nearby. “We will not allow the cement factories to operate at the cost of people’s health,” the chief justice declared.
Yesterday, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) had told the SC that idols of Hindu deities had been removed from the temples of Shiri Ram and Hanuman, along with other Hindu temples, after the demolition of Babri Mosque in 1992.
The Katas Raj temple is one of the Hindu community’s most well-known places of worship. The name of the temple complex is a derivative of Kataksha, a Sanskrit word meaning “tearful eyes”.—INP