Make it green: Forest Dept to plant 40,000 saplings at Soan Valley

Minhas said the Forest Department had constructed Somni Dam to maintain the water level


APP August 22, 2016
Minhas said the Forest Department had constructed Somni Dam to maintain the water level. PHOTO: AFP

SARGODHA: Commissioner Nadeem Mehboob held a meeting with Forest Department officials on Monday to review arrangements for plantation of trees at Soan Valley. “Soan Valley could prove to be a gold mine for the tourism industry if we enhance the valley’s natural beauty,” the commissioner said.

He told Forest Department officials to set a target of planting 40,000 saplings, mostly fruit trees, by November. He asked them to constitute a monitoring mechanism which would ensure that the target was met.

The district government and officials of the Agriculture Department would work together on this project, he said.

Khizer Hayat Minhas, an officer of the Forest Department, told the participants that Soan Valley stretched across 181,000 acres. The valley was 35 kilometres long and 9 kilometres wide.

He said the valley had three lakes – Owchali, Khabayki and Jhalla Lakes – but most of the land in the valley had become less fertile because of soil erosion.

He said the Forest Department had constructed Somni Dam to maintain the water level. “Water from the dam will be used to water the forest.”

Minhas said that the Forest Department had planned to plant saplings along a 25-kilometre stretch of the Pail-Jaba Road. He said Rs8 million would be spent on that project. Under the project, saplings are to be planted on 400 acres surrounding the Kunhati Garden between 2015 and 2018.

“Another project to conserve the forest is underway,” he said. Under the project, as many as 15,000 plants were planted in spring season this year.

He told the commissioner that a nursery had been set up at Phalwari to sell saplings and to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the environment.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2016.

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