Pakistan: Rock crushing, deforestation & development in Margalla Hills

Planned construction projects in the popular hilly areas of Margalla
Hills National Park may badly affect the natural character of the
environment, which is one of the main features of the capital city.
Popularity of a food outlet constructed at Pir Sohawa sometime back
was a success story, which prompted other investors to go for such
projects, keeping in view the growing interest of the local visitors.

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President Margalla Hills Society Roedad Khan claimed that the existing
laws do not allow the construction of hotels, motels, villas or food
outlets in the areas, designated as National Park in 1980. He said the
people living in the areas of the National Park, having their own
lands, can not be relocated unless they are provided with alternative
options that are acceptable to them. “But under the existing laws,
nobody can even root out a single tree or shift a stone to another
place from its original location,” he said. Margalla Hills National
Park comprises Margalla Range (12,605 hectares), Rawal Lake and
Shakarparian Sports & Cultural Complex. The hill range stands at an
elevation of 685 metres at the western end and 1,604 metres on its
east. The rock formations are 40 million-year old, and fossils of
marine life abound everywhere, bearing eloquent testimony that
Margalla Hills were at one time under the sea.

Khan said the threat of stone crushing has been minimised to a great extent after a consistent struggle but feared that ‘anti-environment’ forces would continue to give a tough time to the environment-loving people of the city. He said the local people, also comprising students from schools and
colleges, staged protest campaigns that resulted in an end to stone
crushing in Shahdara, Kalinjar, Sinyari and Shah Allah Ditta valleys.
Now, he said, there is only one spot near the Nicholson Monument where
stone crushing still continues. “But we are waiting for the verdict,
as the case is pending with the court of law,” he said. He appreciated
the efforts of providing the facility of gas cylinders to the local
people living in the National Park area, saying it would help reduce
the cutting of trees, especially in the winter season. Khan said he
has been wandering through the trails but never ever saw any forest
guard despite the fact that these people are appointed by the
concerned authorities to keep vigil over the activities in the
National Park.

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Comments (1)

AjazJanuary 20th, 2010 at 10:21 am

this kind of destractive activities are badly affacted the natural beauty of our areas and need to stop if we want to safe our environment, laws and rules are exist to control such type of activities, espacilly in national parks, but need to implement these laws or rules in force,

Ajaz Ahmed

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