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.
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.