Either improve or shut down mineral water companies: CJP

December 3, 2018

Says on what basis is it claimed that KP has transformed into heaven

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday gave mineral water companies a week to improve their functioning, warning them to either stop defrauding the public or else quit the industry. A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar resumed hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the exploitation of water resources by mineral water companies operating in the country. As the hearing went under way, water technologist Professor Dr Ahsan Siddiqui told the bench that mineral water companies were lying when they said they added minerals to water extracted from underground. Minerals occur naturally in water, and these bottled water companies replace the naturally occurring minerals with artificial minerals, he said. For every glass of water, three other glasses of water are wasted. Mineral water companies use 7.5 billion litres of groundwater monthly, and 1.5 billion litres of polluted water are released back into the underground, the professor informed the court. The court was further told that expired chemicals were being used to test water. Annoyed, the chief justice remarked that the bench had no soft spot for the mineral water companies operating in the country.

“End this fraud with the public. We can’t let our children drink this water,” Justice Nisar stated, adding that these mineral water companies would “turn Pakistan into Ethiopia.”

The top judge remarked that these companies would have to pay for all the water they have extracted from the underground. “They have stolen billions of rupees’ worth of water. People should boycott these mineral water companies. We will not allow the water to be stolen.”

Justice Nisar further observed that if the mineral water companies had been paying taxes on their use of the water, then the dam fund would not need money from anyone else.

“What remains is registration of a case against these companies,” he stated. The chief justice then warned the companies to improve their working within a week, or else they would be shut down.

He also summoned a meeting of all stakeholders, including advocate generals and representatives from the government and the mineral water companies, Evening to review the matter. Meanwhile, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday, questioned on what basis it is said that the province has been “transformed into heaven”.

The Chief Justcie said while hearing a suo motu case on disposal of medical waste from public hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, KP health secretary appeared in court as a bench headed by Justice Nisar heard the suo motu case.

As the hearing went under way, the chief justice inquired, “Why is KP health secretary not present? The health secretary always appears on his behalf.”

The top judge then asked the KP health secretary whether he has visited the Peshawar mental hospital to which he replied saying he did last week.

Justice Nisar continued, “Over there, humans are kept in worse conditions than animals.” At this, the provincial health secretary said, “We took measures for improvement of conditions after your visit. We are also establishing a separate campus.”

The top judge further remarked, “I got samples from my visit and expired medicines are given over there. Doctors don’t even visit.” “On what basis do you claim that KP has been transformed into heaven.

The province is in tatters,” he added. “I will visit in three to four days and see what improvement has been made.” The hearing of the case was then adjourned for two months.

During the hearing, the provincial health secretary informed the bench, “4,000kgs of medical waste is produced daily from the 63 public hospitals in KP and machines can only dispose off 3,600kgs of waste.”

At this, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked, “Even now, 480kgs of medical waste is not disposed in KP hospitals.” Further, the chief justice added, “The provincial government failed to make arrangements for proper disposal of waste.”

The health secretary then said, “860kgs of medical waste is produced daily from 158 private hospitals in KP and they have the capacity to dispose 532kgs of waste on a daily basis.”

When Justice Ahsan said, “We have given you till December 2019 to ensure proper disposal of medical waste”, the provincial health secretary said, “We will try our best to make sure the matter is resolved by June next year.” Agencies