Deforestation of Mango farmlands in Multan on the name of Urban Development

by M. Wasim

“No one can be allowed to pollute the natural environment.” These remarks were given by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan in January this year in an order to stop cutting of trees in Multan for setting up new housing societies. But a series of videos are being circulated in social media these days, claiming over 90,000 trees had been cut down in Multan to allegedly pave way for real estate development schemes, especially Defense Housing Authority (DHA) Multan and City Housing Scheme.

Development and construction is in full swing in Multan at present with several private housing societies under construction. According to a report many officials and local peoples have confirmed that these videos of chopped-down mango orchards are of Bosan Road and Shuja’abad Road in Multan.

Political Criticism

The city of saints Multan, is known for its mango trees all over the world. Bosan Road’s area was almost rural until a few years ago and specially was famous for its mango orchards. A landowner on Bosan Road, who used to house mango trees revealed in an interview that he sold his land voluntarily and which is now privately owned by a housing society. While some say they sold the garden area for a “high price.”

PPP secretary general and former senator Farhatullah Khan Babar criticized this in a statement “Reckless conversion of mango orchards and farmlands into urban property will have a disastrous impact on agriculture, food security and environment.” Also calling for a transparent inquiry into these reports he declared “Food security is far more important than building housing authorities.”

Housing Societies

The Defense Housing Authority (DHA) has come under fire after videos surfaced on social media, however it is not the only housing society who is involved in development and deforestation. The City Housing Society, owned by the son-in-law of Malik Riaz, is also under the fire of this environmental devastation.

The DHA Multan was launched in 2014 and work is still underway on about 4,000 acres Phase1, located in the Bosan Road area. While the full project is comprised of estimatedly18000 acre of land. On the other hand the City Housing Society has 1889 kanal area in Phase I, near the DHA Housing Society and its Phase II covers an area of ​​more than 3,000 kanals and located on Shuja’abad Road.

Environmental Devastation

A news correspondent from Multan claims that Non Objection Certificate is essential from Environment department for any kind of development scheme, but the DHA Multan got no NOC in this regard. It is really pity the city already lacks greenery in its surrounding but this massive deforestation would surely disturb the eco-system of the city.  

It sounds good the Multan city is developing and expanding, but unfortunately on agricultural lands. Because thousands of acre of agriculture land has been handed over to housing societies.


Editorial, Infocus

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