LAHORE, (Muzaffargarh.City – 31st May, 2018 ) :Over 400-kilometre section of TAPI (Turkminestan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline, which will pass through Punjab province, should fully conserve and protect agro-economy of the province, especially sugarcane and mango farms of the districts that will come across the proposed route of thepipeline.
The demand was made by various speakers addressing a provincial scoping workshop, held here on Thursday to evaluate Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), being done for 825-km-long Pakistan section of the proposed pipeline.
Audience of the seminar were informed that four separate ESIAstudies were being conducted for the total 1,814-km-long TAPI projectin Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
The project will pass through total 17 districts of Pakistanincluding nine in Punjab and rest in Balochistan.
The Environmental Management Consultants (EMC) Pakistan organised the workshop as being the local associate of international consortium of consultants, NAFTEC/MAB and Jacobs, working on ESIA of TAPI gas pipeline project. “The environmental assessment study must focus on protection of sugarcane crops and mango orchards as pipeline track passes through Muzaffargarh, Multan and Khanewal districts in Punjab’s territory,” said Director General of Punjab Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Asif Iqbal while speaking at the working as the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion, provincial EPA DG pledged full assistanceon behalf of the Punjab government in construction of the portion of TAPI gas pipeline, which would pass through several districts of Punjab to connect the project with the Indian border.
While the gas pipeline project at the same time should fully take care of the vital agricultural farms of the province that would come across proposed route of the project.
The provincial EPA chief also urged the environmental organisations conducting environmental assessment study on the gas pipeline project to discuss various points with the EPA to implement the project without any hindrance and to ensure transparency in the project.
Saquib Ejaz Hussain, project manager of ESIA study from EMC Pakistan, said the route of the TAPI project would be finalized once the ESIA study report was duly submitted to the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan later this year.
Asif Shuja Khan, former DG of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency and serving chief operating officer of EMC Pakistan, said that ESIA study would conduct air quality and noise surveys; physical environment survey will be undertaken; archaeological and cultural sites would be protected; ecological survey will be conducted to protect flora and fauna; socio-economic survey as well as resettlement surveys will be conducted.
Syed Nadeem Arif, managing director of EMC Pakistan, said the ESIA of the project would comply with the local and international environmental standards, including the regulations set by leading global financial institutions, to assess the environmental, socio-economic, and community health components of major developmental projects.
NAFTEC/MAB team leader Khaled Nassar, former Punjab EPA SecretaryRaees Abbas Zaidi and others also spoke on the occasion.