Mango Orchards Being Cram Down by Housing Societies in Multan

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Multan: according to the news source, the country needs more tree to take a fresh breath when it grappled with smog and pollution. At the same time, several housing societies are being developed at the cost of tree cutting and occupying the agricultural lands having crops and orchards.

Days ago, some pictures and videos went viral showing fallen mango trees and logs loaded at trucks. It was all about developing a private housing scheme. Moreover, it was also alarming that society is being developed allegedly violating rules and regulations.

The inspectors of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) termed the site unsuitable for the housing society. They also showed concerns that the cutting of mango trees will disturb the ecosystem and environment.

The Deputy Director of development Multan sent a report to EPA Punjab on Feb 12 about the inspection of the housing society. The proposed site for phase-II of the private society located at Mauza Bulail and Qasba Awal on Shujabad Road. The document stated that verification is needed for the landowner.

The report further stated that the area shown by Muhammad Imran, the representative of the project to the Shujabad Road was under a mango orchard. The orchard has been cut down.

“The mango orchard on the area of about 12 acres has been cut down and logs were available at the site. A mango orchard and an area of about 150 acres are available at the site. And the firm may cut the mango orchard also. The area is agriculture in nature and fertile,” the report said.

Moreover, the site where the housing society is going to be planned is an agricultural area and adjacent to a local settlement. The report concluded that the cutting of orchards will destroy the ecosystem and environmental degradation will also be observed in the future. It advised that the project should be shifted to another site for greater public interests.

Alarmingly, not only the phase-II is proposed to be developed after cutting the mango trees. Also, Phase-I was developed by cutting thousands of mango trees in the past.

Last year, a petition was filed by an authorized dealer with Lahore High court in which Muhammad Ashraf request that the master plan 2008-2028 may be revised.  The request against the extension of the first phase is pending before Multan Development Authority (MDA).

The MDA responded to court that the housing society got the approval of housing colony at 1898 kanals and sold them after development. The adjacent areas of the housing society are the agriculture zone and the housing scheme authorities started development without approval. The MDA took action and demolished the construction area.

MDA Director-General Agha Khan stated that the MDA is responsible for the zoning laws, not about the cutting of trees.

“The housing scheme administration is not authorized to cut the trees and start the development work. The scheme will not be approved if the EPA will not issue NOC; however, the MDA so far has not been informed by EPA whether the application for NOC” he said.

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