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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Muhammad Sami Saeed asked the provincial governments and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to submit their respective Master Plans with recommendations in one week for regulating the conversion of agricultural land to housing societies in Pakistan.

The minister made these remarks while chairing a committee meeting aimed at “Building Consensus for Regulating the Conversion of Agricultural Land to Housing Societies in Pakistan.”

This committee was established by the prime minister to foster agreement on regulating the conversion of agricultural land to housing societies across the country.

The minister said the government was taking serious steps to preserve the agricultural land in the country. He directed the relevant stakeholders to submit their recommendations with Master Plans within one week.

The Caretaker Planning Minister is the convener of the committee and its members include provincial chief secretaries, the secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the secretary Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination as well as the provincial ministers for agriculture, cooperatives, revenue, and local government.

“There is a dire need of the hour to preserve the agricultural land keeping in view the challenges being faced by the country,” the minister said while chairing the second meeting over the subject.

The meeting was attended by the secretary of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), the additional secretary, IPC, the chief statistician Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS), Member Infrastructure at Planning Commission, the chairman Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NPHDA), and representatives from the provinces were also present at in the meeting.

The minister said the Master Plans, Legal Framework and implementation were the essential steps which needed to be addressed properly.

During the meeting the relevant stakeholders from the provinces and the ICT apprised the forum about the existence of their respective Master Plans, their legal framework and mechanism to implement their laws.

The committee’s terms of reference (TORs) include deliberating on the potential implications of converting agricultural land by land developers or housing societies with regard to food security, agricultural growth, livelihoods of rural communities and the increasing pace of migration to urban areas.

The TORs also involve examining existing federal and provincial legislation related to the subject, as well as prevailing land use and zoning regulations.

The committee is to consult with relevant stakeholders and sector experts to develop consensus among provinces regarding the introduction of rules to discourage the conversion of agricultural land into housing societies or industrial estates.

Moreover, the committee aims to foster develop general guidelines that discourage the conversion of agricultural land into housing societies and to discuss measures for introducing vertical housing in cities and urban centres. Additionally, the committee will deliberate on planning future industrial zones in non-cultivable areas.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Parvez Sep 21, 2023 04:39pm
Is this with his mandate as a " caretaker " minister ?
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