Thursday October 21, 2021

Row over demarcation: Survey of Pakistan engaged to resolve issue

September 23, 2021

ABBOTTABAD: The joint demarcation team has decided to engage the Survey of Pakistan for demarcation of a site leased out to a five star hotel at Nathiagali.

The decision was made after the team consisting of officials from Galiyat Development Authority (GDA), Wildlife Department and Sub-Divisional Police Office (SDPO) Dunga Gali failed to resolve the issue. The issue surfaced after the Forest Department claimed the GDA had encroached on the reserved forest of the Ayubia National Park.

The Galiyat Forest Division in its report had expressed concern over the encroachment in the reserve forest of Ayubia National Park.

The Galiyat Development Authority (GDA) has leased out 22 kanal land to the Baron Pakistan Limited at Nathiagali. The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Galiyat Forest Division has submitted a two-page report to forest high-ups about the encroachment at Ayubia National Park at Nathiagali

The DFO stated that the GDA authorities had leased out 22 kanal land for the construction of five star hotel at Nathiagali.

The copy of the report available with this correspondent stated that this lease land had exceeded the limits and fell in Bagan compartment number four, which was encroachment and transgression of law.

He stated that the lease owner started construction work which has been stopped by the department.

He said a fine of Rs100,000 had been imposed and recovered from one Zainul Arifeen, the contractor of the disputed location of Baron Hotel, adding that GDA had been attempting to encroach the forest land by exceeding the limits.

When contacted, DFO Taimur Illyas said they had made correspondence with the GDA over the dispute and said the joint demarcation failed to reach any conclusion

He said the forest demarcation team came to the conclusion that land had exceeded the limits and 50 meters transgression was noticed.

He said that GDA officials refused to accept the exercise and it was decided to engage Survey of Pakistan for fair and just demarcation of the site in question. He confirmed the correspondence with GDA in this regard.

The DFO said that during their physical inspection of the site they found illegal cutting of trees and observed that one Zain-ul-Arifeen, contractor of the hotel, had cut 150 trees from the reserve forest of Ayubia National Park.

He said the Forest department had proceeded against him and fined him. Galiyat Tahafuz Movement Secretary Sardar Iftikhar said investors were allowed to cut unlimited trees in the area without getting a no-objection certificate from any department. He said promoting commercial tourism would damage the environment.