Lahore, May 31, 2018 (PPI-OT): Over 400 kilometres section of the TAPI gas pipeline, which will pass through Punjab province should fully conserve and protect agro-economy of the province especially the sugarcane and mango farms of the districts that will come across proposed route of the pipeline. The demand was made by the speakers of a provincial scoping workshop organized here to take into account Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) being done for 825 kilometres-long Pakistan section of the proposed TAPI pipeline.

Audience of the seminar were informed that four separate ESIA studies were being conducted for the total 1,814 km-long TAPI project in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The project will pass through total 17 districts of Pakistan including nine of Punjab and rest of Balochistan.

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 total 1,814 kilometre-long 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 its chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, provincial EPA DG assured full assistance on behalf of 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 finalised once the ESIA study report was duly submitted to the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan later this year.

He said that an 820-km long pipeline would pass through Pakistan out of the total of 1,814-km long TAPI project. It starts at Afghanistan-Pakistan border near Chaman traverses through Qila Abdullah, Pishin, Ziarat, Loralai and Musakhel districts in Balochistan and Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Khanewal, Vehari, Pakpattan and Okara districts in Punjab. It will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh gas fields in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.

He said that the project envisaged laying of a 56-inch diameter pipeline one-meter below into the ground from Turkmenistan to Fazilka near Pakistan-India border. As compared to Balochistan, he said, Punjab will witness major activity due to scattered nature of the population of the province.

He said, therefore, they were undertaking all institutional and legal aspects, besides taking all stakeholders on board to address their concerns in order to remove all hurdles before laying of the pipeline, which will commence in 2020. The pipeline will become operational in 2024.

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. In addition to the workshops at the national, provincial and district levels, the focus group discussions will also be held for resettlement and compensation mechanism. “Our aim is to minimise the displacement of population,” he added.

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. This, among other regulations, will also include performance standards of International Finance Corporation. Besides, NAFTEC/MAB team leader Khaled Nassar, former Punjab EPA Secretary Raees Abbas Zaidi and others also spoke on the occasion.

For more information, contact:
EMC Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited
503, Anum Estate, Opposite Duty Free Shop,
Main Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-34311466, +92-21-34382860
Fax: +92-21-34311467
Email: mail@emc.com.pk
Website: http://emc.com.pk/