The Pakistani Supreme Court on Monday (20 November) closed the Katas Raj Temple case ordering the DG Khan Cement Company Limited to deposit Rs 10 crore for the country’s dam fund, Rs 8 crore for the payment for water utilised by the factory and a Rs 2 crore penalty for attempting to mislead the apex court.
The Katas Raj shrine consists of several Hindu temples, in the Chakwal area of Punjab, Pakistan, connected through walkways. The temples form a complex which surrounds a pond named Katas which is sacred for the Hindus. According to a legend, it is believed that pond is formed from Shiva’s teardrops which he shed after Sati’s death.
The cement companies in the area near the temples were responsible for drilling boreholes and utilising groundwater, which eventually led to a drop in sub-ground level water and drying up of the sacred pond present at the temple site.
The Chief Justice Saqib Nisar-led three-member bench had already banned the use of underground water to safeguard the holy pond.
During earlier hearings of the case, the bench had been told that boring by the cement factory been the primary cause of reduced subsoil water levels and the drying of the holy pond.
In yesterday’s hearing, the special committee which was told to visit the DG Chakwal submitted a report to the bench. The DG Cement company claimed that were using rainwater, but the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar said in his remarks that it was a lie as the company was using groundwater.
"The people who are not doing anything for water are not sincere with this country; those taking no measures for water [provisioning] are enemies of this country," the CJP had remarked, reports The Dawn.
The temple complex was visited by Lal Krishna Advani, then Deputy Prime Minister, in 2005 who inaugurated the conservation work being carried out by the government of Pakistan.
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