South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tahir Rasheed said on Sunday that the company with the help of private sector will plant 130 million trees, over an area of 99,077 acres of forestland, in five districts of the south Punjab.
Talking to media he said that commercial forestry through a proper management system could play a key role in controlling environment pollution in addition to reorganising wood industry and saving preciously foreign exchange.
He said that with completion of 130 million tree plantation project, around Rs 240 billion would be added to the economy and government would earn approximately Rs 20 billion. The project would also help to reduce logging pressure on natural forests of the country, he added.
In this connection the SPFC had accomplished feasibilities of different forest plans, he said added that work on tree plantation would be started by April this year.
Rasheed said the Punjab government had taken a landmark step to reduce deforestation in South Punjab and providing sustainable wood to the wood-based industry.
He said that according to the vision of Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Forests Department had been strengthened and was formulating comprehensive recommendations for making tree plantation across the province.
To a question he said that districts including Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan would be brought under forest cover, through the project.
The company was mandated to seek private investment on produce sharing basis with minimum 15 per cent of SPFC’s share for forestations and range management under Public Private Partnership (PPP)’s Build Operate Transfer (BOT) mode for a period of 15 years, he said. Tahir Rasheed, while appreciating the Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), said that it was a successful initiative which would help improving forest cover of the country, leading to the conservation of wildlife.
“This programme will help to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change in Pakistan, as the country was vulnerable to the phenomenon”, he further said.