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Environmental body to review Centaurus

Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) has constituted a review committee to decide on granting environmental approval to the Centaurus Complex Building project.

The 12-member review committee comprising nominees of Planning Commission, Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory Authority, Islamabad Electric Supply Company and seismic, environmental and architectural experts would look into the concerns raised by stakeholders at the public hearing on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project.

It is interesting to note that the review proceedings for grant of environmental approval are to commence without the submission of Environment Management Plan, a pre-requisite for such consent.

Although it may be difficult for Pak-EPA to block the project, it is anticipated that the most likely path would be that of a conditional approval.

Pak-EPA believes that the builders of the mega-building complex project M/s Pak-Gulf acted illegally by starting the execution of the project before completing the EIA process, which constituted violation of Section 12 of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997.

The allegation has been denied by the constructors, who say they had submitted the EIA report before going ahead with it. The EIA report submitted by the builders, EPA chief Asif Shuja Khan says had several shortcomings as it did not address issues like vibration, reflection, construction materials emission estimates, heat generation and water supply.

One of the biggest highrise projects in the capital having three towers has been widely criticised by the environmentalists and some members of the public for being too taxing for the already inadequate civic amenities of the city and because of other environmental concerns.

Sources claim that under public pressure the CDA has already reneged on its commitment of providing utilities for the project, which would have cost Rs1.62 billion of the taxpayers’ money.

The water consumption of the project once completed is anticipated to be 1.3 million litres per day, whereas its electricity use could be 15-20 MW.
Source: The Dawn

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