Staff Reporter Peshawar
Chief Conservator of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest Department Malakand Division Hazrat Mir said concrete steps have been taken to protect and increase forests following the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Forest Department, he said, has planted 400 million new saplings on an area of 70,000 hectares in Malakand Division with 110,000 while new plant varieties have been planted in each hectare adding steps initiated by Pakistan has drawn worldwide appreciation.
Talking to media here Sunday, he said, following the success of One Billion Tree, the Ten Billion Tree Project has been launched by the government under which 40 percent saplings of the total target of one billion trees have been successfully planted.
He said the Forest Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has so far planted 400 million new saplings. However, with the planting of new trees, result oriented steps have been taken to wipe out timber mafia, he informed.
Over the last two years, he said, more than Rs. 15 million has been collected as fine while 12,000 ct of timber has been confiscated, 74 people have been sent to jail under the 3MPO, including the closure of illegal timber cutting machines at 10 different places across Malakand Division.
FIRs have been registered against 2245 persons involved in logging and 24 other persons booked for transporting timber illegally, he informed and added that forest protection campaign across the country was underway.
Hazrat Mir said, the forest department has penalized 1225 people for logging and collected cash penalties amounting to Rs9681000 from them in Dir Upper and Dir Lower districts only. Hazrat Mir said that in Dir Lower 113 cases were filed among which 31 were disposed of with collection of Rs182,789 as penalties.
Similarly, 611 cases were registered in Dir Upper and a fine of Rs9,499, 366 was collected from them.
He said the government has decided to increase the strength of forest guards besides installation of CCTV cameras and establishing more check posts in the newly merged districts.
He said that 400 million new trees have been planted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Project (TBTTP) while the target of 10 billion trees will be completed by June 30, 2025.
“We have started our work swiftly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa besides plantation along river banks to prevent floods and landslides and to decrease impact of climate change,” Hazrat Mir said.
Referring to the success of the Billion Tree, he said the role of community is very important in the success of the Billion Tree and 10 Billion Tree project.
Thousands of people have been given jobs who are getting a monthly salary of Rs 15,000, he told.
With the participation of the community, the Forest Department has succeeded in the Billion Tree Project and nursery-business is also increasing with each passing day, he said and added that Corona epidemic has created an unemployment ratio very high but the forest department along with all stakeholders created job opportunities for these unemployed labour class that resulted in forest cover by 6 percent in KP.
In the private sector, BTP has provided employment to private people, including a large number of women as well. He said that the TBTP has created more opportunities for women and youth.
He said that the under project locals have also been informed about the method of planting nurseries enabling them to earn a respectable livelihood.