SC wraps up Katas Raj suo motu case after cement factories agree to find alternate water source Haseeb BhattiMay 08, 2018 Facebook Count13 Twitter Share 7 The Supreme Court on Tuesday wrapped up the Katas Raj suo motu case after the cement factories put forward a proposal that they would find an alternative water source and pay for the water they use until then. The top court, in November last year, had taken notice of reports that the pond in the Katas Raj temple complex was drying up because cement factories nearby were drawing a large amount of water through a number of sub-soil wells. A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, has been hearing the case. During earlier proceedings, the court had also ordered the federal and Punjab governments to form a special committee of experts to save the fabled prehistoric Hindu temple of Katas Raj. Read: SC wants govt to save Katas Raj temples On Tuesday, Bestway Cement and DG Khan Cement proposed that they would submit Rs2bn — Rs1.5bn by Bestway, 0.5bn by DG Khan — as bank security until they are able to find an alternate source of water. They said they would build a small dam in the area, the outflow of which will be maintained in a way that the pond at Katas Raj is not adversely affected. They also proposed to pay Punjab government for the water that they use until then. The CJP noted that the cement factories would have to improve the system of smoke exhaust keeping in view the global standards. "If needed, the court will have the smoke exhaust system checked," he said. He said that the factories should not cause pollution in the area and ensure the pond in Katas Raj temple is filled. He also noted that the chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) — responsible for maintenance of religious properties and worship places of Hindus and Sikhs — should be from a minority group. The court had, earlier this year, dismissed PML-N veteran Siddiqul Farooq from ETPB chairmanship. "It is our responsibility to take care of worship places of minorities," he said. The CJP said that the pond should be filled through natural means while Justice Ijazul Ahsan noted that the water levels in the area would rise once water pumps at the factories are shut down. Additional Advocate General Asma Hamid informed the court that until alternate arrangements for water provision are made, the Punjab government would charge the factories for water usage, the tariff for which is yet to be decided. The factories are currently using water from nearby river and underground sources. The court then wrapped up the case. It has yet to pass an order or formally accept the factories' proposal. The Katas Raj temple in Chakwal is one of the holiest sites in Hindu mythology. Legend has it that, after the death of his wife Sati, Lord Shiva cried so inconsolably that his tears formed a pond that came to be known as the Katas Raj pond. Around this pond, temples were built dedicated to the Hindu dieties Shiva, Ram and Hunaman.