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MURREE: The poultry farms lining the main Islamabad-Murree road are posing problems for tourists and commuters.

Poultry farmers throw garbage from the farms near the road which poses risks for motorists and also leads to bad smell, which is worse when the garbage is set on fire.

This also harms the environment of Murree which is already at risk from high rises, illegal construction, deforestation and other hazards.

The construction of poultry farms at a distance of a kilometre from the main Murree Road was banned during the second government of Nawaz Sharif, who also directed for existing farms to be moved from Murree Road.

A large number of new farms have now been constructed along the same road, including one at Arwari Peeran which is the largest in Asia.

A large number of locals have appealed to the concerned authorities to look into the issue which is harming the environment and also turns away business from tourists.

They have demanded the poultry farms be removed from the main road and the construction of such farms on the Islamabad Murree dual carriageway be banned.

Hafiz Saeed Ahmed, president of the Rural Areas Development Organisation which is an NGO working for the environmental protection, told Dawn the environment of Murree and adjoining areas is deteriorating due to the large scale chopping down of trees and the cutting of rocks by illegal housing societies.

He said the establishment of large scale poultry farms are further harming the environment of the hilly areas and are also polluting water channels.

He urged the Supreme Court to take suo moto notice of the issue.

When contacted, Arif Ullah Awan, the assistant commissioner of Murree, said that after taking charge, he has started working on this issue and is constituting a team for conducting surveys.

He said severe action will be taken against those found violating the law and that the environment will be protected as best as possible. Mr Awan said the environment protection department is being consulted for this and that the Town Municipal Administration’s enforcement section will take action against the violation of the law and of the prime minister’s directives.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2017