ISLAMABAD - The constant use of the gravel produced from the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) in the government development projects is one of the biggest obstacles to winding up the stone-crushing business from the area, it was reliably learnt. Spread over an area of approximately 17,386 hectares of the northern, eastern and western sides of Islamabad, the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) has great significance due to its unique features. But unfortunately despite being awarded the status of a national park in 1980 by the Federal Government, the natural resources of the park are continuously being misused for the last many years because of the encroachments, stone quarries activities, forest fires, fuel wood cutting, poaching, littering, water pollution and so on. During last many years a state of quarrying business has been established at the site and according to the tall claims of the quarters concerned, so far several strategies had been proposed for protecting the area from environmental decay. But the presence of more than hundred stone-crushing machines at the various locations of the park revealed that practically noting has been done yet. As it has been learnt from most of the well-placed officials that ceasing operation from the area is not an easy task, as besides employees who are directly associated with the quarrying business, there are many people in the different government departments, who are not in favour of ceasing the activity. Actually, one of the official informed that the main hurdle in closing down the operation is the gravel of the area that is considered to be the best material for constructing buildings and is also being used in most of the government construction projects. Railway has established its own stone-crushers at the area for the purpose of acquiring rock-strewn for its developmental projects, he noted while requesting not to be named. The crush produced from the park is preferred, as it cost less than transporting from far-flung areas that eventually become costly. An employee associated with the stone-crushing business at the site, told TheNation that the crush of the Margalla is being supplied for the different projects of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Railway, National Highway Authority (NHA), Pakistan Housing Society (PHA) and other such projects. However, when approached, Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Imtiaz Inayat Elahi conceded that the activity must be stopped for saving the natural environment of the area, but the implementation in this regard very difficult. I dont now whether the material is being utilised in developmental projects of CDA or not, he said while replaying to a question. At the moment more than 157 machines are operating in the area of Margalla hills and the number is also increasing with every passing day, as according to official sources the Punjab Mineral Development Corporation is continuously granting new quarrying leases and extensions to existing ones. Out of total, 21 stone crushers operating in the area of National Margalla Hill Park had been directed so far as the part of the strategy proposed by the Environment Ministry for getting rid the dilemma. The Chief Minister of Punjab had also taken notice of the issue and had decided to chalk out a comprehensive mechanism with the help of relevant department for resolving the issue. Besides that the plan of shifting the business is also in pipeline, but there is no progress in sight.