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PESHAWAR: The caretaker provincial government is contemplating a plan to place ban on use of agricultural lands for commercial purpose and housing schemes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Advocate Anwarul Haq, the minister for food and agriculture, told journalists here on Sunday that the provincial government would promulgate an ordinance to stop use of farmlands for other purposes including construction of residential quarters.

He said that agriculture department had recently sent a summary to the caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan in that regard. He said that the ordinance was under process.

The minister said that the ban would be imposed on conversion of farmlands and owners would be bound to take permission from the provincial government before launching any scheme on the agricultural lands except farming.

He said that the caretaker government was planning to introduce drastic reforms in agriculture and livestock sectors in the province and announce legal measures soon. He said that food laboratories would be established at all entry and exit points of the province to check quality of edible items.

This is worth mentioning that the province is losing farmlands because of unplanned construction of housing schemes and commercial activities. The government has no legal tool to stop conversion of agricultural lands into commercial centres and housing societies.

The minister said that the caretaker setup would soon introduce an ordinance to stop the rapid conversion of farmlands. He said that campaign regarding awareness of conservation of water resources in the province would be launched.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2018