Trip to Muzaffargarh

Muzaffargarh is one of the worst flood affected districts in the Punjab. The FloodMAPS team recently visited the DCO Muzaffargarh’s office and initiated the process of point mapping the mauzas of this district. The challenges that arise in the course of such an exercise are evident in one team member’s description of the trip below:

Within the DCO’s office is located the district record room where the masavis (maps) are kept. We asked the Tehsildar to get us maps which show mauza boundaries, where possible, of the whole district or at least of tehsil Muzaffargarh. These maps were hand drawn and depicted the mauza boundaries, however, lacked accuracy. We then gathered some patwaris together and had them identify their respective settlements on Google Earth. This exercise was not, however, very successful. We then headed to the local patwar khana, which is the office of the patwaris and also where the Kanungo (head patwari) is present. We asked them to write down a complete list of mauzas in their respective patwar circles, which they were able to recall from memory.

We took these lists with us and on arriving back in Lahore,gave these to our volunteers. The volunteers matched this list of mauzas to the lists of settlements that the FloodMAPS team already has (given to us by SUPARCO). The aim of this exercise was to point map those mauzas of Muzaffargarh that could be matched against settlements on Google Earth. This was an interesting exercise that pointed once again to the fact that the support of the patwaris is crucial to the progress of this project.

Interesting fact: The masavis of district Muzaffargarh date back to 1920-21!