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Migration to cities and its impacts

Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

People who have lived in the mountainous regions of KP and GB have now started migrating to cities on various grounds. The volume of this trend is wider and is creating problems both in the cities as well as in the areas/valleys vacated by them. 

It is regarded a right step to shift to cities in search of employment, education, healthcare facilities etc., but the trend doubled and tripled in a couple of years. The other reason for this trend is given as lack of firewood, electricity, cold winters, land erosion in many parts of the valleys of Chitral, lack of medical facilities, overpopulation etc.

The plea that over population has led to over use of local resources which are already short in the mountain blocked country. The size of the villages has expanded many times over and cultivable lands have been turned into plots for residential areas and the croplands have diminished. The local or provincial governments have failed to provide basic facilities to the people and over population means new disputes over landed property and other common resources.

The traditional social organizations have multiplied and agriculture is not enough to feed the whole population as no more waste lands were reclaimed, no new irrigation channels were built, no agriculture extension programme was launched except a few nurseries with limited capacity. No new fruit trees were introduced according to the weather condition of the region such as almonds, cherry at larger scale which gives better product. No marketing mechanism was developed for surplus fruits which means that road system was not improved. As long as the road system is bad local products cannot reach markets in proper form for sale.

In order to generate sources of income in the areas concerned employment opportunities have to be created for the young generation. What AKRSP has done so far is quite right but more and wider efforts are required to keep young people busy. The Honey bee farming, fish farming, construction of new water channels to barren lands and many other forms of constructive measures have to be extended into the valleys under supervision of experts.

A good supervision is required to make a project successful or sustainable but the departments and institutions have to be more active than at present. Their work is not as active as must be for example a small project remains hanging for years and when it is resumed the earlier work has been already damaged due to poor quality.

The new generations needs skill training in a number of disciplines and trades to get jobs in the markets both inside the country as well overseas. There should be facilities of a certain degree, not sophisticated amenities,  to attract the people and the problems should be addressed all over the mountainous region of KP that  have been facing  constraints in different spheres of life.

If the road problem is improved to the satisfaction of the public then there will be more tourism/ access to markets  and convenience, and it will reduce the tension of the would be emigrants.

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