Provinces urged to ban housing corporations on farmland

Islamabad: The Ministry of Climate Change has urged provincial governments to ban housing corporations from agricultural land until the completion of urban city master plans by the end of the year.

According to the details, the provincial governments have decided to prepare master plans for 80 cities with the aim of improving air quality and the natural environment.

Provincial governments will also follow the National Climate Change Policy to promote vertical growth in urban areas to protect agricultural land from increased construction activity. The ministry is also trying to convince provincial governments to introduce laws that will make it mandatory to obtain permission from provincial cabinets to convert green land to brown land for residential purposes.

One official said the master plans would help contain city limits and there would be no expansion beyond their limits. A report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) indicates that Pakistan has the highest rate of urbanization in South Asia. It also showed increasing pressure on the existing housing infrastructure with a population growth rate of 5% in the country.

The prime minister’s special assistant on climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, said Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered master plans to be prepared for eighty major cities by the end of this year.

“We want to promote vertical city growth that will help protect the country’s farmland and tree cover. The federal government is also providing necessary assistance to provincial governments to implement the national climate change policy in letter and spirit,” he said. He said: “Housing corporations are eating up farmland and we need to stop this trend to protect the natural environment. We hope that once the master plans are prepared, the growth of cities will go in the right direction.

Amalia H. Mercado