SIALKOT-The farmland has reduced by over 200,000 acres due to the growing trend of housing colonies and factories in the region, said the Irrigation Department.

It has been noticed in a recent survey conducted by this department that there was a great reduction of 200,000 acres in agricultural land in the region during the last one decade because of the large-scale establishment of the housing societies and factories on the agricultural lands, the officials added.

The officials added that the cities and urban areas were rapidly spreading in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Mandi Bahaud Din, Hafizabad and Gujranwala districts due to poor planning of the government, which remained unable to halt the growing influx of the rural areas’ population to the urban areas due to the prolonged non-availability of the basic facilities.

The local district governments also remained unable to chalk out effective strategies to ensure the check and balance on the establishment of the housing societies and factories on the fertile agriculture lands. The urban areas’ problems were also growing, following the growing migration of the rural areas’ people towards the urban areas. Local people have expressed grave concern over the reduction of the fertile farmland in the region.

EIGHT GANGS BUSTED: In Sialkot district, police busted eight inter-district gangs of dacoits and arrested 18 members including their ringleaders during a special campaign launched in January 2017.

District Police Officer (DPO) Abid Khan stated this while talking to the newsmen. He added that the police recovered eight snatched motorcycles, one pickup vehicle, one car and other valuables (worth of Rs. 8.6 million) from these dacoits. He said that the police have also arrested 305 proclaimed offenders in Sialkot district during the month besides recovering 2 illicit Kalashnikovs, 10 rifles, 64 pistol, 4 revolvers, one dragger and 314 bullets.

He narrated that the police also launched a crackdown against the drugs and narcotics and recovered 34kg of fine quality Charas, 1.5kg heroin, 1.5kg fine quality poppy, unearthed 8 working distilleries and recovered 990 liters of wine during the campaign.