Margalla Hills Tunnel Project opposed

KARACHI: Naeem Qureshi, President, National Forum for Environment & Health, expressed his reservations with the government’s recently announced Margalla Hills Tunnel Project at a meeting of the board. He cited three reasons for his reservations. Firstly, building a tunnel through the Margalla Hills would be a flagrant violation of the laws which regulate the Margalla Hills National Park, on which construction of any kind is prohibited by law.

Secondly such a tunnel through the beautiful Margalla Hills would damage the environment of Margalla Hills National Park and Islamabad. In addition, this would cause irreparable damage to the ecology and scenic beauty of Islamabad, which is one of the most beautiful capitals of the world.

Thirdly, this decision seems to have been taken in a hurry since the official procedure for processing and permitting such projects has not been followed. Such projects require approval of the Planning Commission, sanction by the ECNEC as well as the NOC of the Environment Protection Agency. Ideally, when undertaking a project of this magnitude, the standard procedure also includes undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment, and a public hearing. But the government considers itself above these criteria, it seems.

He also expressed his hopes that the project would suffer a fate similar to the infamous New Murree Development Project, which was scrapped by the Punjab Government due to similar reasons.

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