ISLAMABAD: As many as 2.6 million (2600,000) saplings have been planted so far across Chitral under the KP government’s Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project, District Forest Officer (DFO) Shaukat Fayyaz Khattak told ChitralToday on phone Wednesday.
He said Nigahbaans had been appointed to look after the saplings for a period of three years. After the expiry of the contracts of the Nigahbaans, the projects would be handed over to the local communities for looking after the saplings.
In this regard, village-based committees would be constituted who would be looking after the trees.
He said the project would continue even after the expiry of the PTI-led KP government. The communities would be looking after the trees and utilize them, he added.
He said at present 532 Nigahbaans were looking after the saplings in the district and 18 more would be hired soon.
In reply to a question, the DFO said the dues of Nigahbaans being paid by the provincial government would be paid to them by June 30 this year.
Mr Khattak also said more saplings would be planted in the barren Khotan Lasht in the Yarkhun valley where around 80,000 had been planted last year.
The people of Dizg near the barren land face an acute shortage of water but nevertheless they constructed a canal from their village stream on a self-help basis to water the newly-planted saplings. The forest department had promised to arrange pumps and motors to draw water from the river for the plants.
Talking to ChitralToday, a resident of Dizg, under whose supervision the saplings were planted and are being managed, said the success rate of the plantation in the desert was almost 100 per cent.