Monday August 15, 2022

Ministry finalises report to identify occupied land in MHNP

By Our Correspondent
December 08, 2021

Islamabad : The climate change ministry is fine-tuning a comprehensive report that would identify some eighty spots where the forest land of Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) has been illegally occupied by builders and local villagers.

According to the details, various wings of the ministry have put in their efforts in the last few weeks to get first-hand knowledge and data about encroachment in the national park.

The areas where forest land has been occupied include Shah Allah Ditta, Chatra, Karlot, Bhara Kahu, Mouza Manga, Jungle No. 1 and buffer zones between residential sectors and the forest areas.

The details given in the report revealed that villagers living inside the national park have also illegally expanded and built illegal structures, removing trees that take 20 to 30 years to grow to their maximum height.

The construction is underway in the foothills, particularly in Zone-III in Shah Allah Ditta and adjoining areas, while trees are being chopped for firewood by locals and dealers in Bhara Kahu.

The MHNP has been divided into four zones including recreational, wilderness, intensive use, and cultural sites.

The forest cover is declining while agriculture and built-up area are heightening. This spreading out of settlements and agriculture is due to lack of proper planning and urbanisation in the last many decades.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said that “I have visited many areas of the MHNP along with the Director General of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) chairperson, and the Director General Environment of Capital Development Authority (CDA) where forest land has been encroached by various elements."

“We are finalising a report on encroachment in the national park that will identify the elements involved in this illegal activity,” he said.