Chitral Today
Latest Updates and Breaking News. Editor: Zar Alam Khan.

Billion-tree afforestation project marred by poor planning

MASTUJ: The billion tree tsunami afforestation project of the KP government is not bringing any dividend for the people of Chitral.

And because of the poor implementation policy of the forest department, the tree plantation programme is destined to fail in the valley, local people told ChitralToday.

Khotan Lasht in Upper Chitral.

Millions of saplings have been planted across Chitral since the mega project was launched by the previous PTI government in KP.

About 100,000 alien saplings were planted in Khotan Lasht in Upper Chitral for over three years. However, most of the plants have already died down due to lack of water and proper care.

Initially, the department brought rain-fed saplings mostly kikar from Swat and Dir and planted them in different parts of Chitral. However, these plants either did not take roots or withered within months. As a result, millions of rupees went down the drain it terms of cost and fares of the plants and labour to plant them.

Most of the plants were planted in barren land including public grazing ground and a ban was imposed on keeping livestock by local communities so that the new plants could be protected.

The farmers suffered losses after abandoning their livestock but in return they got nothing and the plants also dried down.

Last year, because of the efforts of the conservation committees the government agreed to plant indigenous saplings. This came as a good news for local people who expected to earn some money by selling their saplings.

But early this year, the department started purchasing saplings from local farmers at throwaway rates.

The farmers are of the view that the government was spending billions of rupees on the plantation project and the local forest department officials wasted public money on arranging plants from other districts in Chitral most of which did not grow in Chitral.

Now they are not ready to purchase plants from locals at the actual market rates which was an injustice.

They called upon the prime minister and other authorities to order an investigation into the alleged irregularities and poor planning in the project.


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  1. Sajjad Ali Buni says

    Khotan Lasht afforestration project is one of the successful project I have seen so far. Within span of three years we have witnessed barren land turning into green. This piece of land remained barren for so many years as the water irrigating this area was supposed to be not fit for growing any type of vegetation. We must appreciate the efforts of local forest department for proving this wrong. The survival rate of plants seems to be more than 80 percent which is technically very encouraging for such type of project. I request you properly investigate into this and not blame the authorities based on assumptions.

    1. Nadir Khan says

      Khotanlasht is a disaster. Dunya paida biti khotan lashta kia giah no axi sher ugh no biko wajahen. Dizg and Istach are two villages located on the two sides of this barren huge land but these two villages have no water even to properly irrigate their crops. Salam to the planners of forest department who started planting trees here without first arranging water. Local people say the forest department had shown in papers that water pumps have been provided to Khotan Lasht to draw water from river. Where are these pumps.
      The plants are alien and most of them have disappeared from this desert and the remaining are stunt. irregularities have been rampant in this project across Chitral and I have heard that there are also ghost employees hired for taking care of plants.
      Proper investigation should be carried out by the government to expose the truth.

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