Punjab cement industry to be regulated after three decades

Punjab cement industry to be regulated after three decades
08 January 2018

The cement industry in Punjab, Pakistan, is being brought under regulatory control of the provincial government again, after 29 years.

The decision to once again regulate the cement industry was taken during a marathon meeting of a committee, led by Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed, two days ago at the Civil Secretariat. Five provincial ministers, several administrative secretaries of the departments concerned and MPAs from the Salt Range attended the meeting during which every aspect of the regulatory regime was discussed threadbare, according to Dawn news service.

As key reasons to support the new regulatory regime the committee stated considerable environmental and agricultural issues and the depletion of underground water resources in the Salt Range, where the industry is located. The plants have been mainly affecting the Vinhar, Kahoon, Padhrar and Pail Padhrar areas and no new cement plants will be allowed to be constructed with existing works to shift their sustainable water resource to the banks of nearby rivers.

The Environment Department will have to approve an Environmental Impact Assessment of all cement factories and present them with a mitigation strategy.

The Mines and Minerals Department would allow the use of raw cement materials via mining leases and ensure that the mined-out areas are reclaimed and rehabilitated. Cement producers would not be allowed to receive new areas for quarrying without the full reclamation of previously-damaged areas. They will be required to level the mining area and grow vegetation on it.

The new policy to regulate the industry had been finalised following a 1000-page technical report by an overseas consultant company and in consultation with the relevant departments. The final version will be submitted to the chief minister for approval next week.

Published under Cement News