Aug 5, 2012

Agricultural lands are being victims of growth of cities

Considerable amounts of agricultural lands in Kurdistan Region have been recently damaged due to various reasons and Kurdistan Farmers Union thinks that if cities’ master-plans were not reviewed and reconsidered, then agricultural requirements of region’s population for food wouldn’t be able to be provided. Minister of Municipality says that growing of cities hasn’t had any negative impacts on agricultural production.

    Growth of cities on the basis of master plans and investment projects are reasons for large areas of agricultural lands to lose their agricultural properties in Kurdistan Region.
Municipalities’ neglect
    Instead of using rocky and unused lands, municipalities are heading to use deep and fertile agricultural lands. According to head of Kurdistan Farmers Union ( Nawzad Mahmood Ali), Kalar Municipality has 800 acres of rocky lands in order to be used in growth of the city, but it focuses on Part 101 of Old Kalar instead, where tens of farmers are farming.
   The master plans of round-shaped cities are also criticized because a lot of agricultural lands have been destroyed due to development of these cities. The Capital Hawler for example was supposed to be developing towards Koya city because of existence of a large amount of unused lands; besides, there will have been a better facility for sewer system.
     In addition to that, each municipality is widening city circles as it wants. In Pira Magroon, this increase includeds 5 KMs which is more than 11 thousand acres of 8 villages’ lands, and 2 KMs in Ranya and Pishdar, and 1 KM in sub-districts.
   Master plan’s lack of plan
     According to information by KFU, there are 60 villages affected by the master plan within Hawler municipality and 4 thousand acres of lands have been destroyed
only in Bahrka sub-district. Nearly 55 villages have been affected by the master plan within Suleimaniya municipality. And there are the same problems in the sub-districts. For example 13 villages in Baziyan, 12 in Sayd Sadq and 11,841 acres of land in Pira Magroom sub-distric have been affected due to expansion of municipalities.
Municipality’s projects haven’t arrived
     The disadvantages are in both sides, in one hand agricultural lands have lost their agricultural properties, and on the other hand most of the lands will not be having any service by 10 years and farmers have been excluded in any helps by the government.
Oil industry
     Farmers’ representative mentioned the importance of oil industry development in Kurdistan, but with reflection of environment and protecting agricultural lands in the plans.  The villages and lands in which oil wells and refineries were built, farms and lands around are in agricultural, environmental and human dangers because of smokes.
 Not taking the issue seriously
   Master plan is the basic map of organizing between land and citizens for the future, and according to KRG minister of Municipality and Tourism ( Dilshad Shahab), the growth of each city is on the credit of agricultural lands, and it’s farmers’ rights to concern about their lands, “but the question is that if the city is not expanded then where can people go?” he said
denying Hawler to be having rocky lands and defended on Hawler circle-shaped master plan and considered it as a beautiful aspect of Hawler, because it includes facilities of design, providing water and joining streets and roads.
Shahab reiterates if this master plan had conducted earlier, there wouldn’t have been any trespasses.   “I can certainly say that growth of cities doesn’t have any negative impact on agricultural production in Kurdistan Region, because the Region has a large fertile land.” He concluded.
Despite sending their demands to the parliament, the government and concerned sides, any of Kurdistan Farmers Union’s demands hasn’t been met yet. The head of the unions thinks that the issue hasn’t taken into account seriously and if things go so, all districts and sub-districts will be within cities by coming 20 years.

Sleman Tashan – Hawler Newspaper
Translated by : Shvan Goran 

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