Voice of the People


Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

Turkey forest fires: A warning

Forest fires in Turkey have been burning for the past three days. Higher temperatures and winds have spread the fire to more than 70 locations. Besides Turkey, forest fires have been burning in Greece as well.

Turkey has requested help from all countries to stop the forest fires that have killed thousands of animals, destroyed pine forests and destroyed hundreds of homes.

To control forest fire there is need for planes, helicopters and drones dropping water from the top.

Besides offering Pakistan’s help to Turkey, we should also think about planning for forest fires in Pakistan as well.

Although our country has a small forest cover now, but over the years the Billion Tree Project will help increase forest cover in Pakistan.

And with climate change making weather hotter and dryer, Pakistan should prepare in advance for fighting forest fires.

One good way would be to construct multiple artificial canals from the highest point to the lowest points of the jungle.

Connect the highest point of the canal with a water supply pipeline that would bring pumped water from a reservoir.

If there is a fire, water can be pumped into this canal, to help reduce its intensity and create barriers between regions.

Even when weather conditions are hot and dry, then water can be pumped into this canal to increase humidity and reduce chances of forest fires starting.

The canals will also act as a rain water collector. And the rain water will also drag loose leaves and wood from the forest, which can be collected at the canal ends, helping keep forest clear of kindle for forest fire, while conserving rain water.

Besides this, the Government should enhance forest department scope to include managing the artificial canal system, clear the kindle material, watch for forest fires, watch for dry weather and be able to fight forest fires.

Peshawar, Pakistan
Rain damage in Islamabad

The curse of land encroachment seems to have infected every major city and town of Pakistan with disastrous impact on safety of citizens and fatalities to citizens.

Recent rains have caused devastation in Islamabad, the federal capital, exposing the callous role of CDA and the district and land management of this city. Will anybody be prosecuted for the death of citizens?

Monsoon rains are an annual feature and play a vital role in storing water in our dams, rivers etc.

Yet every year we witness damage inflicted by such rains, because of the criminal negligence and conflicts of interest of those who are paid to prevent irregularities.

It has become a familiar pattern that construction is carried on Rain Water Drains, obstructing water drainage, resulting in floods ravaging houses causing death and destruction.

CDA is a regulatory body entrusted with the task that town planning violations do not occur and there are no irregular constructions on amenity plots, water drain systems, land allocated for schools and hospitals etc.

Unfortunately, over the years these regulatory bodies are headed by bureaucrats, retired uniformed officers and political cronies, who have no knowledge of the basic principles and technical know-how required for oversight and enforcement by a regulatory body.

The conflicts of interest of those at helm of CDA and other such regulatory bodies, are too tempting and the benefits that accrue to the individuals in terms of allotment of plots from the powerful vested interests blind them to their moral and legal obligations as administrators and regulators. Encroachments on Rain Water Drains have become almost a norm.

It is not just confined to Karachi but also Abbottabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Multan etc. These encroachments are not just in civil administered parts of cities but also, in cantonments.


Metropolitan issues

Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper, I want to highlight rapidly growing metropolitan issues.

Pakistan is among the most urbanized country of South Asia. As challenges mount, urban planning is gradually finding space in the policy discourse. I would like to discuss the pace of urbanization and the major problems associated with it.

Urbanization has inflated Pakistan’s biggest cities so rapidly that they struggle to deliver public services and to create more productive jobs.

The problems associated with it are: High population, inadequate infrastructure, lack of affordable housing, flooding, pollution, slum creation, crime, congestion and poverty.

This problem of high population density is caused due to the heavy rate of migration from rural areas.

The rapid population growth has led to an acute shortage of dwelling units which resulted to overcrowding, traffic congestion, pollution, housing shortages (slum and squatter housing), high rents, poor urban living conditions, low infrastructure services, poverty, unemployment and poor sanitation which have become pervasive and indeed high crime rate. Flooding is a very serious problem faced in some metropolitan areas during the rainy season.

The drainage is poorly constructed leading to difficulty in accessing the roads due to the flood.

The growth of slums in cities is one of serious problems created by rapid industrialization and urbanization is really needed to be considered.

The crime rate is also increasing due to increase in population. Congestion is another main metropolitan issue. It could be in traffic and overcrowding.


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