Bahria Town in SHC defends flyover project

KARACHI: A real estate giant Bahria Town on Thursday defended the construction of a flyover near Abdullah Shah Gazi shrine in Clifton, stating before Sindh High Court that the project would not cause any adverse impact on environment.

Advocate Akhtar Hussain, representing Bahria Town, filed comments in response to the lawsuit filed by Pakistan Defence Officers Housing Authority seeking injunction against the project allegedly being built without complying with the mandatory requirements of environmental protection laws and approval from authorities concerned.

Justice Munib Akhtar, who headed a single bench of SHC, was seized with hearing of the lawsuit. Advocate Akhtar Hussain told the judge that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had provided the requisite approval for the construction of project strictly following the environmental laws. There was no adverse environmental impact of the project in question, which was being constructed on existing road, therefore, Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) approval for the project and its construction is in accordance with the law, he added.

Akhtar stated that a private consultant firm M/S Environmental Management Consultant had also proposed the requisite measures to mitigate the negative impacts that may surface during the course of construction. All the requirements are being followed in letter and spirit by the builder.

It was stated that the project of underpasses and flyover will not affect the heritage sites Jahangir Kothari Parade, and Shiri Ratan Mahandew Temple or Bagh-e-Ibn Qasim.

The court was pleaded to dismiss the suit and vacate its restraining order on construction of the project, which was causing huge loss to Bahria town and also public at large.

KMC also filed a reply in lawsuit stating that area, where projects were launched, was heavily congested and in order to remove the congestion, the projects were initiated so that traffic issues faced by citizens be reduced.

The project will facilitate the citizens and provide a thoroughfare to ensure that commuters reach their destination in time, it added.

SHC bench had given the interim order on lawsuit filed by Pakistan Defence Officers Housing Authority against project in Clifton.

Advocate Malik Naeem Iqbal, representing the plaintiff, stated before the judge that Bahria Town had launched the project titled “Bahria Town Icon Tower” near Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Clifton. It had also undertaken a project “Grade Separated Improvement Plan” from Park Tower Intersection to AT Naqvi Roundabout, which included the construction of a flyover in front of Park Towers in Clifton area and the underpasses near Kothari Parade, as part of Bahria Town Icon Tower project.

He said that the project involved major construction work to be carried out along the relevant roads, which were major arteries of DHA and Clifton areas and its cost runs into billions of rupees. According to Section 12 of Pakistan Environment Act 1997, no such project could be undertaken without an assessment of its impact on the environment, he added.

The court was also prayed to restrain SBCA and Bahria Town from carrying out construction work on the project.

Hearing of case was adjourned till April 17.

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