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Pak SC bars cement factories near Katas Raj temple from using potable water

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Pakistan's today barred in the vicinity of the historic complex in district of province from using potable water, as it rebuked the private for putting profits before the environment, a media report said.

The court in November last year took suo motu notice of the issue of drying up of the sacred pond in the complex, considered by the followers of Hindu religion a sacred place. The pond is said to have depleted due to several nearby that have sucked out the underground water.

The court had wrapped up its hearing in May, after assurance from cement factories to arrange alternative sources of water and pay for water use.

However, irked by the non-implementation of its orders, a bench headed by took up hearing on the case once again and reprimanded the cement factories for wasteful use of potable water, Geo TV reported.

During the hearing, Nisar observed that cement factories were consuming millions of rupees' worth of water without paying their dues.

The governments have been complicit in this wastage, he said, questioning why the government had not yet imposed taxes on cement factories.

"We will impose the taxes ourselves," the said.

The court then barred the cement factories from using potable water, and adjourned hearing of the case till August 1.

Before concluding the case on May 8, the apex court had ordered the factories to submit Rs 2 billion as bank security, and had also warned of shutting down the factories for their gross negligence.

The factories had assured the chief justice that they would arrange alternative sources of water in six months.

They had also agreed to build a small dam in the area, the outflow of which will be maintained in a way that the pond at Katas Raj is not adversely affected.

Chief Justice Nisar had accepted the proposals and said that the factories should not cause pollution in the area and also ensure that the pond in is filled through natural means.

The Katas Raj temple is one of the holiest sites in Hindu mythology.

The name 'Katas' is derived from Kataksha, a Sanskrit word meaning 'tearful eyes'. According to legend, the pond was formed after Lord wept upon the death of his wife

Around this pond, temples were built dedicated to dieties Shiva, Rama and Hanuman.

In January, the apex court had sacked the of the which manages the Katas Raj temple and other shrines of Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated to following the partition.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, July 10 2018. 17:30 IST