Location Area and Administrative
DivisionDistrict Vehari is one of the southern districts of Punjab, located at the right bank of River Satluj-one of eastern tributaries of River Indus. Word ‘Vehari’ literally means a low lying settlement by a flood water channel. Vehari makes part of Nili Bar. Lying at is bounded on the north by Districts of Khanewal and Sahiwal, on the west by Lodhran and Multan, on the south by Bahawalplur and Bahawalnager separated by River Satluj, and on the east by Pak Pattan. District Vehari is a smaller district interms of area. It is spread over an area of 4364 sq.km and makes 2.12% area of Punjab and 0.5% area of Pakistan. Administratively District Vehari is divided into three tehsils, 89 union councils and 774 Mauzas. Vehair is part of Multan Division along with the districts of Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Multan, Lodhran and Khanewal. Prior to getting the status of a district in June 1976, Vehari was part of Multan district. The three tehsils of Vehari are somewhat of equal size each covering 1/3rd area of the district. All the three tehsil, on their south neighbor river Satluj. The district is 93 km in length and 47 km in breadth. It slopes gently from north east to south west .
Natural VegetationThe natural vegetation found throughout the district is thorny. The soils of the district are quite fertile. This fertility is reflected in the vast agricultural lands that dominate the scenes in the district. The soils in the district have been deposited by the rivers- River Beas which used to flow in the northen part of the area which now forms the district and River Satluj that flows in the south. The soils lying in the belt that borders River Satluj are those which are found in the active or young flood plains. The soils in the rest of the district are those that are found in the older flood plains.
RainsThe district receives its share of rains mostly in the monsoon from July to September and very little rainfall during winters.
PopulationDuring last one decade the population growth rate is estimated to have reduced from 2.7% recorded for the period 1981-98 to 2.23% during the period 1998-2006. However despite this reduction in the population growth, the rate is still higher than the national and provincial level population growth rates (Pakistan: 2.14% and Punjab: 2.0% for the period 1998-2006). Since 1981, there has been an increase of 87.7% in the population of Vehari and from 1951 to 2006, there was 347% increase in the population. In terms of population balance or malefemale sex ratio, an improvement has been made. From a male-female sex ratio of 112 recorded in Census 1981, the ratio was noted to has improved to 108 in 1998.
6 Main UrbanThe census 1998 noted that there were 6 main urban settlements or towns in the district. Out of them, the towns of Burewala and Vehari each had a population of more than 0.1 million. The town of Mailsi was a medium sized town having a population of more than 50,000. Jalla Jeem, Tibba Sultanpur and Karampur were infact small urban settlements/towns each with a population of around 10,000. Since the expansion of population in district Vehari dates some 80 years back with the canal colonization, the cities and towns of district Vehari are not very old. The town of Vehari is quite well planned with straight and broader streets following a grid iron pattern. Commanding a smaller areas but affording a larger population, the population density in the district is quite high. It is estimated that the current population density in the district is around 600 persons per square kilometers.
Southern Districts of Punjab
Housing and Living Conditions
RCCRCB RoofsThe RCC/RCB roofs are still not a preference for or affordable to a majority of the households. In 1998, 30% urban and 16% rural houses had a pacca (RCC/RCB) roof. These proportions changed to 36% and 31% respectively in 2006-07. A considerable proportion of urban households (1/3rd) do not own the housing units they are living in. rd 1/3 houses in the urban areas are provided with a piped water supply whereas the proportion of rural hoseholds enjoying this facility is quite small-6%. The motor pumps have become quite common in both the urban as well as rural areas of the district. More than half of the urban and 40% rural households have installed these pumps replacing the traditional hand pump based water supply. rd Almost 1/3 housing units both in the urban and rural areas are single room dwellings. Almost 6 in every 10 urban and rural households are living in the housing units having 2-4 rooms. th About 1/10 of urban and half of the rural households still defecate in open as they do not have a latrine facility inside their dwellings. Around 3% urban and 16% rural households do not have an access toelectricity from the national grid. Natural gas, considered to be a cleaner fuel is out of the reach for majority of the urban and rural households. Only th 1/10 of urban households are found to be using gas as a fuel for cooking and heating. Majority of the rural households (88%) use crop residues (especially cotton sticks) and cow dung rd as the cooking fuel while 1/3 of the urban households also use these fuels. Fuel wood is the fuel option for more th than half of the urban and 1/10 of the rural households.
- More than half (56%) of the adult population aged 15 years or above is unable to read or write. Almost same proportion of the population aged 10 years or above is also illiterate.The literacy figures for the females aged 10+ and 15+ are half of those for males of same age groups.The - 1/4 of rural women (aged 15+ and10+) compared to half of urban women/girls of same age group are literate.
- Less than half of the population has ever attended any school. Half of the urban and 1/3 of the ruralpopulation has actually completed primary or higher levels of education. The government schools are quite valuable especially for the rural population as 85% of the primary school going children attend government primary schools. In urban areas the private and government schools have almost equal role inproviding the primary level education.
- Vehari is one of those luckier districts of Pakistan where number of elementary educational institutions for girls are equal or more than those for boys. The number of primary schools for girls in the district is a little less than that for boys while the number of middle schools for girls is almost double than that for boys. This trend reverses in case of high schools where number of boys high schools is double than that for girls. These trends are also reflected in the school enrolments of boys and girls.
- The disparity gap between boys and girls appears to diminish in case of higher level educational institutions as there are equal number of intermediate and degree colleges both for boys and girls in the Vehari District.
- Of those fall sick, three out of four are taken to or consult a private health facility. Compared to this 22% patients in urban and 15% in rural areas consult a public health facility.
- The private health facilities and practitioners have an important role in taking care of people's health needs.
- 18% male and 12% female children are yet to be fully immunized.
- 10% urban and 29% rural pregnant women do not receive tetanus toxoid injection.
- Most of the deliveries continue to take place at home both in urban as well as rural areas.
- More than half of both urban and rural women do not receive any pre natal care form a formal health facility.
- Almost 9 out of 10 women do not receive any post natal care/advice from a formal health facility.
- Of the population aged 10 years or above, 35.7% was economically active,
- Almost half or 46.6% male population of the district was noted to be economically active,
- Of the total population, 1.4% population was recorded to be working as domestic workers,
- The unemployment rate among the economically active population was recorded to be on the higher side. 17.5% economically active population was found to be unemployed. The unemployment rate in the urban areas was higher (22%) than in rural areas(16.9%). The unemployment rate was higher among men (17.9%) compared to women( 5.6%). The female unemployment rate was recorded to be higher in rural (6.3%) than in the urban areas (3.5%),
- Agriculture sector was noted to have engaged majority of the economically active population of the district (42%). The elementary profession engage a considerable proportion of urban(43%) and rural (34%) population of Vehari.
- The construction sector absorbed a considerable proportion of the economically active population- 21% rural and 30% urban population.
- 64% economically active population was self employed,
- The government institution and
- 10.3% EAP was not to be comprised of unpaid family helpers.
AgricultureVehari being part of a zone where agriculture activity is extensive, hold an extremely important place in country’s agriculture sector. This is evident from the fact that in 1988, the district contributed 15.3% to the total cotton production of Pakistan. The agriculture and livestock zoning maps (Oxford Atlas of Pakistan) reveal District Vehari’s contributions in the agriculture sector Some of the major trends and issues in the agriculture sector of Vehari include:
- According to Census 1998, more than 80% area of the district was under cultivation. The Punjab Development Statistics 2005 reveals that out of the total area surveyed, 90% has been put under the cultivation. The document also shows that almost all the lands that can be put under the cultivation has been utilized for this purpose since 9% area of the district is not available or fit for cultivation (area under settlements/built environment, water bodies etc).
- The extensive agricultural activity in the district is being fueled by the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and their use is on rise. From 2000 to 2004-05, 35% increase in the used of chemical fertilizers had happened.
- The extensive agriculture activity also need a lot of irrigation water. Earlier this need was being taken care of by canal water which was sufficiently available. However over the time the increase in the cultivated area, and shrinking availability of canal water made way for the installation of tube wells whose number has steadily been increasing. From 1998 to 2004-05, 82.3% increase in the number of tube wells was recorded (From 9282 to 16924). Majority of the tube wells are diesel powered. From 1998 to 2004-05, there was 5.6% increase in the electric tube wells whereas during the same period 129% increase in the diesel powered tube wells was recorded.
- Like rest of the country the farm mechanization or ‘tractorization’ has almost completely replaced the use offarm animals for the preparation of lands. During one decade (1994-2004), 35% increase in the number of tractors was recorded. However the number of days and number of hours, a tractor used to work, have been reduced with the increase in the number of tractors.
- As mentioned earlier that availability of canal water is shrinking. The resultant decrease is being compensated with the ground water. Of the total irrigated area, 91% is irrigated using both canal as well as ground water. Only small portion of the total irrigated areas is now completely dependant either upon the canals or tube wells (1.7% on canals and 5.7% on tube wells)
- Cotton production, the identity of Vehari is facing some serious issues. For instance the production appears to be either static (has reached the saturation point) or declining. For instance the data available for the period 2000-01 to 2004-05 shows that out of 5 years, the production declined during 3 years(2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04).
- The extensive irrigation activity is not free from grave issues. Out of total cultivated area, 7% area has been affected by salinity.
- The rapid expansion in agriculture is made possible at the cost of lands thatwere earlier used as rough grazing lands or sustaining a forest cover. The forest area in the district has almost non existent. Only 0.04% area mostly in the form of trees planted along the roads or canals, is under the forest cover. The linear plantation in the district runs for 1393 kilometers.
Economic ConditionsThe PSLM 2006-07 throws some light on the economic situation of households and communities in the district. Almost 1/4th of urban and 14% rural households were found to have reported that their economic conditions improved compared to the previous year. Compared to them, 9% urban and 13% rural households opined that their economic situation worsened compared to the previous year.
TransportVehari is located on the southern alternate route of both railway and road between Multan and Lahore, the capital of the province. The northern route is the main route. Both of these routes run roughly in a northeasterly direction, almost parallel to each other and only 20 to 30 miles apart at any given point. A section of the railway between Multan and Lahore was electrified on the main line between Khanewal and Lahore during the 1960s; however in subsequent decades and lately with rapid decline and deterioration of the infrastructure of Pakistan Railway (PR) the above electrified section lies in ruins and is not likely to be restored in the foreseeable future. With the new motorway between Multan and Lahore which is due to be completed sometimes in the early part of 2014, Vehari is set to benefit from its proximity to its north.
SportsIn sports, Vehari has produced many players. It is famous in the field of hockey. This area has enormous talent in this field. The famous players in the history of the game are :
- Afzal is a good player of POF Hockey team.
- Waseem Ahmed Ex Olympian and former captain of Pakistan National Hockey Team. He is one of the best left half produced by the world. He also got selected in World XI.
- Saleem Sherwani Ex hockey Olympic champion and world hockey champion.
- Sajjad Anwar International Player, represented Pakistan National Hockey Team.
- Waqas Akbar Olympian and currently representing Pakistan National Hockey.
- Malik Kashif currently representing Pakistan National Hockey.
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