MASTUJ: After purchasing thousands of saplings from local farmers to plant them under the KP government’s billion tree tsunami afforestation project, the forest department has failed to pay the cost of the plants to the local people.
Local people told ChitralToday that initially the department had brought saplings, mostly kikar, from Swat and Dir and planted them in different parts of lower and upper Chitral. As the purchase and transportation of these plants cost the department a huge amount of money, and on the reservations of experts against plantation of alien saplings, the department decided to go for the indigenous plants.
As a result, the forest department purchased local plants mostly poplar and planted them in barren land along river in Kargin and Hondur in Chuijn and other areas.
The saplings were purchased at a throwaway rate of Re1 per foot and it was promised that the payment would be made soon.
However, even after the passage of over eight months, the local people are waiting for the payment. Besides, labourers who were hired to plant the saplings have also not been paid their wages.
A resident of Chapali confirmed to ChitralToday that the department had purchased hundreds of saplings from his jungle for plantation early this year but had not paid him the cost.
The farmers called upon the higher authorities of the forest department to clear their dues without any further delay.