LAHORE - The INDUSTRIES, Commerce and Investment (IC&I) Department has finally formulated rules for the installation of new cement plants and forwarded for approval to the competent authority.

After approval of the Chief Executive, the rules will be notified. New cement plants are needed as the PTI governments had claimed to construct five million houses.

As per the prescribed rules, pre-requisites of the applications filed for new plants have also been mentioned. According to them, no application shall be entertained unless it is accompanied by a certified copy of computerised national identity card of the applicant, a copy of recent utility bill for the property mentioned in mailing address as proof of residence, a certificate of registration in case of a company, feasibility report prepared by an expert of the project including environmental, ecological and spatial planning feasibility.

Moreover, financial statement of applicant including bank statement, detail of self-owned assets, tax returns are also required. Moreover, the applicant will also provide details of proposed land or machinery to be used for the project, if proposed land is not self-owned, the financial statement should indicate that enough funds are available to purchase or lease the proposed land or machinery etc.

Total capacity of the plant and time period for completion of the project will also be mentioned. For the enlargement of existing cement plant, the applicant shall follow the same procedure and requirements as prescribed for new installation.

On receipt of the application, the department shall, after satisfying that the requirements of preceding rules have been fulfilled and application is complete in all respects, give an acknowledgment. If the application lacks any of the requirements of these rules or notifications, the designated officer shall return the application with written objection.

On receipt of required documents, the department shall, within 90 days, after hearing the applicant and keeping in view these rules and public interest, issue a formal permission, called as conditional NOC or rejection order accordingly. In case, the conditional NOC is granted, the applicant shall move his case to other departments concerned to fulfill other formalities.

No Objection Certificate (NOCs) from the Local Government & CD Department, Environment Protection Department based on Environment Impact Assessment, Mines and Minerals Department in the shape of valid lease agreement will also be mandatory. Subject to fulfillment of legal and codal formalities, the case will be moved to the government for final approval. If permission granted by the government is not implemented and complied within 2 years from the date of its issuance, the same shall lose its effect. The summary mentioned.

In the case of partially completed plants, the prescribed time period for the implementation of the permission granted may be extended by the government while duly recording the reasons for the delay in its implementation.

The applications for the establishment or enlargement of any cement plant shall summarily be rejected without any exception if the applicant wants to establish or enlarge his cement plant in an area declared as Negative Zone for lease by the Mines and Minerals Department.

It is to be recalled that the Punjab Industries (Control on Establishment & Enlargement) Ordinance 1963 is the legal instrument for planned and organized growth of industries in the province. The IC&I department has issued various location policies under the Ordinance. In the Location Policy1981 cement industry was placed in the category of industries which could not be established without prior approval from the competent authority.

In the Location Policy 1984 cement industry was placed in the Schedule-C i.e. category of the industries which could not be established without prior permission of the government. Then again in 1986 cement industry was excluded from Schedule-C.

Since 1989, IC&I Department has not issued any NOC/permission to any party for establishment of the Cement Plants in the province.

In 2002, another location policy was issued which is still in vogue. In 2003 general policy guidelines were issued to all district governments for declaration of Negative Areas in their respective jurisdictions. Cement industry has again been included in Schedule-C in 2018. Now, a dozen of investors have applied for installation of the cement plants.