Lahore schools, private offices to close thrice a week as smog worsens

Employees of private entities may continue to work from home, states PDMA notification

Ummay Farwa
Children walking to school in heavy smog in Lahore, Pakistan, November 6, 2017. — AFP/File
Children walking to school in heavy smog in Lahore, Pakistan, November 6, 2017. — AFP/File 
  • Decision was made in line with LHC's orders.
  • All private, public schools to remain closed: notification. 
  • Office staff will continue to work from home.  

The schools and offices in Lahore will remain closed for additional two days — Friday and Saturday — weekly due to the worsening smog situation in the city, according to notifications issued by the Punjab government on Wednesday.

The step was taken on the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The notification, issued by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), stated that the staff may continue to work from home. The order will remain effective till January 15, 2023.

"All private offices being operated by companies, private sector entities and other individuals, within the territorial limits of Lahore Metropolitan Corporation, shall remain closed on every Friday, and Saturday, with effect from 07.12.2022 until 15.01.2023. However, their staff may work from home," stated the PDMA notification.

Meanwhile, School Education Department's notification stated that the decision to close the schools weekly is applied to all the private and government schools of District Lahore

"In compliance with the directions of Hon'ble Lahore High Court, Lahore, in Writ Petition No. 227807/ 2018 vide order dated 02-12-2022, it is notified that owing to prevailing SMOG condition, all Public & Private Schools in District Lahore shall remain closed on every Friday & Saturday, in addition to the weekly holiday on Sunday till further orders," stated the notification. 

It also noted that the chief executive officer of the District Education Authority (DEA), Lahore and the concerned heads shall manage the distribution of homework to the students during the closure of schools.

LHC order 

A day earlier, the Lahore High Court sought a notification from the Punjab government tomorrow (Wednesday) for the closure of schools for three days weekly.

The directives were issued by the court during the hearing of a case related to pollution and smog in Lahore and other Punjab cities.

During the hearing, the court ordered the Punjab government's lawyer to submit a notification regarding the closure of schools tomorrow.

Smog emergency

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi announced to impose environmental emergency in Lahore and other cities to deal with the situation of smog.

The chief minister said that smog has been declared disastrous and ordered to effectively implement the plan to reduce the smog.

"Action should be taken to control those factors that are causing smog," said CM Elahi, adding that failure to implement the standard operating procedure (SOPs) to reduce smog will not be tolerated.

The chief minister also announced a ban on stubble burning, saying that action will be taken against those caught burning the crops residue.

CM Elahi said that action will also be taken against the vehicles emitting smoke. He added that the anti-smog squad will constantly check the smoke-emitting vehicles in the city.

"The anti-smog squad will also check the vehicles at the entrance of the Lahore city," said the chief minister. He added that the farmers will be provided with a modern harvester called "Hepper Seed" to dispose of crop residues.

The chief minister said he has issued directives to transfer all brick kilns to zigzag technology. He also ordered that the environment, agriculture, industries and transport departments should conduct an anti-smog campaign continuously for three months.