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Contractors using Agricultural Land for Urban Development

20/01/2020

Contractors using Agricultural Land for Urban Development

Like every major city of Pakistan, Lahore is also experiencing serious deficit of homes. To meet the shelter needs of homeless people, Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has come up with a plan to convert agricultural lands of the provincial metropolis into residential developments due to which civic and urban issues will pile up. Instead of finding a solution, the authority seems to be drifting off these core civic issues and letting them become environmental disasters. Whereas, more houses in Lahore means more vehicles, more commercial zones and eventually more pollution.

Lahore has already been facing urbanization and commercialization issues from the past decade so converting the agricultural land into development does not just create environmental hazards but it will also deface the city. More precisely it is also true that changing the land use will negatively affect the supply of vegetables, milk and foodstuff prepared from cereal grasses, and the production pressure will be shifted to rural areas due to which prices of food items will be increased. Therefore, experts are of the view that soil cover should not be damaged otherwise; it will affect the entire ecosystem and create hot zones in the city.

If Lahore Development Authority remains successful in completing the move, the designated agricultural land around GT Road, BRB Canal, Hadyara Drain, Bedian Road, Khaira Distributory, Barki Road and Shalimar Link Road will be converted into residential zone. However, the authority cannot complete the process and issue a final notification without holding a public hearing and without taking approval from Environment Protection Department. Moreover, the government has recently announced a mega project to start development around River Ravi.

On the contrary, the civil society has serious reservations over this allocation and does not want the authority to kick start the said projects around the said land. Majority are of the opinion that it will not just affect the aesthetics and beauty of city but will completely alter the map of Lahore. Instead of transforming agricultural land into residential developments on the cost of the needs of homeless people, the civic authority should promote integrating urban agriculture in civic planning and support multi-functional agriculture.

Share your views with us regarding this move through comments and let your voice be heard too.

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