LAHORE: Work on tree plantation would be launched by April this year while Punjab government had taken a landmark step to reduce deforestation in South Punjab and provide sustainable wood-based industry.
This was said by South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) Chief Executive Officer Tahir Rasheed on Sunday.
He said the SPFC, with the help of private sector, will plant 130 million trees over an area of 99,077 acres of forest land in five districts of South Punjab.
Tahir Rasheed added the commercial forestry, through a proper management system, could play a key role in controlling environment pollution in addition to reorganizing wood industry and saving foreign exchange.
He maintained that with completion of the project, at least Rs240 billion would be added to economy and government would earn Rs20 billion.
“The project will also help in reducing logging pressure on natural forests of the country,” he pointed out.
The CEO said the SPFC had accomplished feasibilities of different plans. He said that according to the vision of Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, forest department had been strengthened and was formulating comprehensive recommendations for making tree plantation across the province.
He said that Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan would be brought under the forest cover through the project.
The company was mandated to seek private investment on produce sharing basis with minimum 15% of SPFC's share for afforestation and range management under the Public-Private Partnership Build Operate Transfer (BOT) mode for a period of 15 years, he said. Rasheed appreciated the Green Pakistan Programme (GPP) and said it was a successful initiative which would help improve forest cover of Pakistan, leading to conservation of wildlife.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2018.