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Wednesday December 08, 2021

Petition filed against housing schemes on agricultural land

June 17, 2021

PESHAWAR: A writ petition was filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the establishment of housing societies on agricultural lands in Charsadda district.

The petitioner Asif Ali Shah Advocate filed the petition through his lawyers Faqirullah Awan, Zyat Khan, Mohammad Arif Jan, Akbar Ali, Mohammad Ma’az Madni and Amanullah Marwat. The provincial government, Agriculture, Local Government and Environment departments as well as deputy commissioner Charsadda and SMBR were made parties in the petition.

The petitioner took the plea that people in Charsadda were dependent on agriculture, fishing and livestock. According to the petition, Charsadda was contributing 85 metric ton fish to the fish market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. While the district’s share in wheat and tobacco yield stood at 25 and 14 percent respectively.

Charsadda was the second largest producer of sugarcane in the province. The livestock farming of the district contributed 940 million litre milk. The petitioner lamented that property dealers had started establishing illegal housing colonies on the agricultural lands in Charsadda, alleging that government employees were also hand-in-glove with the realtors.

The petition argued that Charsadda was fast losing agricultural land to the rapid urbanization, which was threatening agriculture, fishing and livestock farming. Under the law, the petition said that nobody was allowed to use agricultural land for any other purpose except farming. It further contended that even the government, under the law, could not use the agricultural land for other purposes.

The petitioner alleged that the Revenue department and the district administration had closed their eyes to the illegal practices. The petitioner had approached the district administration and other relevant officials to seek their intervention, but to no avail.

The petitioner said that the property dealers were influential and resourceful to the extent that even the authorities were unable to take action against them. The petitioner requested the court to order the relevant authorities to stop the establishment of housing authorities on the land meant for farming. The petition also sought legislation to curb this practice. It also asked for banning the transfer of land for other purposes.