Lahore 21 October, 2021: The government of the Punjab will charge cement producers in the state up to US$0.93/m3 for ground water used in their cement production reported by thecement.pk news agency. Charge will depend on water availability, and be US$0.6/m3 in water secure areas, US$0.85/m3 in semi-critical areas and US$0.93/m3 in critical areas most affected by drought.
The measure aims to encourage rainwater harvesting in order to preserve water tables. The charges will fall upon Maple Leaf Cement, Gharibwal Cement, Dandot Cement, Flying Cement, Askari Cement and Fauji Cement. They will remain in force until the establishment of a Punjab Water Services Regulatory Authority and its enactment of water extraction rates.
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On Nov 6 2020, the Supreme Court had ordered the Punjab government to submit a report showing updated data regarding amounts generated by way of water charges for industrial and domestic users. In 2018, the Supreme Court had imposed a ban on extraction of underground water by cement factories.
The fresh report explained that water meters were installed in these industrial units, but the deduction for domestic use could not be calculated as the domestic rate had not been finalised yet by Punjab’s local government department.
The report explained that the management of Gharibwal cement factory had developed a water source at Pind Dadan Khan, about 20 kilometres from the plant.
The water is brought through pipelines from the source to the factory whereas the defunct district council had installed water meters at the source to assess the extent of commercial usage and a small water meter inside the factory to assess domestic use.
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The report said the Gharibwal factory had paid nothing to the district council on account of water conservancy charges due to a stay order given by the Lahore High Court on Nov 26, 2018.
An amount of Rs590 million is outstanding against the factory for services utilised between May 2018 and Oct 2020.
Likewise, Dandot Cement Factory has paid Rs100 million, against Rs109 million, from May 2018 to Oct 2019 as water conservancy charges. The factory’s water source is a natural spring. The water is first accumulated in two ponds and then supplied through steel pipelines to the factory.
Due to non-payment of dues, the water connection was disconnected on Nov 1 last year. The factory has been shut down since November last year on account of internal issues like change of management and payments to labourers.
About the Bestway Cement Factory at Choa Sayden Shah, the report said the factory had started extraction of water through tube-wells after getting approval from Jhelum’s defunct district council.
The factory has already paid the entire dues of Rs28.2 million, but has stopped extracting water since May last year. The factory has applied for extraction of water to Pind Dadan Khan council.