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SC wraps up Katas Raj case, orders cement company to donate Rs100m to dam fund

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LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Monday wrapped up a case pertaining to the depleted Katas Raj pond in Chakwal and ordered a cement company to donate Rs100 million to the dam fund.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry heard the case pertaining to the depleted Katas Raj pond – a revered site for Hindus which is said to have depleted due to operations in the vicinity of several cement factories that have sucked out the underground water.

As the hearing went underway, the chief justice remarked, “We are stopping the water supply of cement factories. Factory owners say they collected rainwater but are not telling the truth and extracted groundwater through tube wells.”

The bench also ordered that groundwater should not be extracted through tube wells from the Katas Raj pond. “Cement factories will not extract groundwater,” the bench directed.

“Cement factories will have to pay a fine for the groundwater they have used till now,” the bench added.

Penalising a cement company for Rs80 million and Rs20 million separately, the court ordered that a total Rs100 million be donated to the dam fund and wrapped up the case.

In November last year, the top court had taken notice of reports that the pond next to the Katas Raj temple was drying up because cement factories nearby were allegedly drawing a large amount of water.

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