Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid on Wednesday apprised the Senate that Council of Common Interests (CCI) has given approval to the National Forest Policy in principally and action plan for its implementation would be carried out with consultation of the provinces.
Replying to a Calling Attention Notice raised by Tahir Hussain Mashhadi about non-protection of Margalla Hills National Park, the minister said that forest department had already been devolved to the provinces after the 18th constitutional amendment adding that only Margalla Hills National Part with the Federal government.
He said the government took pragmatic steps to protect the environment.
The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued notices to all stone crushers in jurisdiction of the Park in 2010.
Currently there were no crushing activities in vicinity of the Margalla Hills Park and the stone crushers have shifted to Punjab or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he added. Zahid Hamid said five kilometers areas around the Park had been declared a buffer zone to ensure protection of forest. The public utility institutions were also directed for non-provision of electricity, gas and other connections in the area and these facilities were linked with prior approval of Capital Development Authority.
He said construction of new roads and setting up of housing societies had also been banned in the area.
The minister said the Supreme Court had also taken a suo motu notice into the matter and the court order was being implemented in letter and spirit.
Source: Business Recorder
December 21, 2016