Unplanned increase in population is not only marring the beauty of Buner Valley but also creating some serious health, education and communication problems for people of the Valley. During the last few decades, the population of Buner Valley has increased manifolds due to which the agricultural land is fast shrinking. If this trend is not controlled, it can cause serious problems like food shortages, unemployment and inadequate provision of services. According to the 1951 census, the population of Buner was 1,099,00, which in 1961 increased to 123,000. In 1972 it was 188,000 but in 1981 shot up to 266,000. In 1998 it almost doubled to 506,000. In 2008, it is estimated to be approximately 700,000. The average increase in the population every year is stated to be between 3 to 4 percent. Unemployment is on the rise. The agriculture land is being acquired for mushrooming high-rise buildings and commercial centers. The farmers have no other option but to seek other sources of income to feed their children, as the remaining land is insufficient for their needs. The Population Welfare Department (PWD) of Buner has also launched a mass awareness drive about hazards of the increasing population and is holding meetings with people in different parts of the district. Poverty is on the rise in district Buner. The ever-increasing prices of petroleum, electricity, gas and food have driven last nail in the coffin of the poverty-stricken Buner. -MUHAMMAD AMIN ASAD, Buner, via e-mail, July 26.