Punjab government orders implementation of two-day work from home policy for private sector across the province
- LHC issues directions on petitions filed against smog in Punjab.
- Says, Punjab National Disaster Act is the right law to limit restrictions.
- In the private sector too, orders have been given to work from home for two days.
LAHORE: To help curb smog, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the government to implement a two-day weekly holiday for public schools, colleges and universities and all educational institutions by the end of January next year .
LHC Justice Shahid Karim issued the directions in a three-page order issued on Saturday on petitions seeking the court’s intervention in tackling smog in the province.
The order acknowledged that the caretaker Punjab government had “announced measures such as closure of schools and colleges on Saturday” in line with the court’s directions.
However, the court said that the notification should not have been issued under the provisions of the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Act, 2020. It said the Deputy Commissioner Lahore decided to issue the notification under Punjab National Disaster (Prevention and Control). Relief) Act, 1958 should have been kept in mind.
The court pointed out that the 1958 law was reasonable and could be used to “restrict public movements and close schools and colleges”.
“Therefore, it is directed that any notification to be issued by the Secretary, Primary and Secondary Health Care Department, Government of Punjab or the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Lahore, shall be issued in consultation with the members of the Commission. “Further, it is directed that the notification shall mention closure of public schools, colleges and universities and all educational institutions at least for every Saturday till the end of January, 2024,” the order said.
The court also ordered that two-day work from home should be imposed on private sector companies and ordered gyms to be excluded from the notification as it was a “continuation of COVID-19 restrictions”.
“A report has also been filed by the Punjab Transport Company, showing the action taken and fines imposed against vehicles emitting smog. It has been told by the members of the Commission that the industrial units which were sealed on the orders of this Court, were found to be functional during the inspection conducted by the Commission. It is directed that not only will reports be filed regarding prosecution of such industrial units, but also the names of the concerned officers of the Environment Protection Department, who were required to keep these greenbelts as scaled up, will be recorded. Departmental action will be taken against these officers on the next date of hearing,” the order said.
face mask mandatory
With the arrival of winter, smog has become a problem in many cities of Punjab and the government is struggling to control the issue as the provincial capital continues to rank high on the air quality index.
To combat the deteriorating quality of life in Punjab, the caretaker government on Sunday made it mandatory for all citizens in the smog-affected districts of the province to wear face masks for a week.
The countries of South Asia have seen significant increases in industrialization, economic development and population growth over the past two decades, leading to increased demand for energy and fossil fuels.
While sources such as industry and vehicles affect most countries, some major contributions are unique to South Asia, including solid fuel combustion for cooking and heating, human cremation, and agricultural waste burning.
For example, about 38% of the pollution in New Delhi this year has been caused by stubble burning in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana – a practice in which the stubble left after paddy harvesting is burned to clear the fields.
Along with the development of the area, the increase in the number of vehicles on the roads has also increased the problem of pollution. For example, in India and Pakistan, the number of vehicles has increased fourfold since the early 2000s.