PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Advisor to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister for Environment and Forests Syed Ishtiaq Urmar has said the target of planting of one billion trees under Billions Trees Tsunami Project in the province would be achieved by December 2017.
On the occasion of golden jubilee celebrations and convocation of Pakistan Forests Institute (PFI) Peshawar, he said that so far 180 million saplings had been sown under this initiative in the province.
He said promotion and conservation of forests were must to counter the negative effects of climatic change and global warming besides controlling environmental pollution and averting devastations of floods.
Ishtiaq Urmar said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had accorded high priority to forestry education, adding the educational course of BSc and MSc forestry had been changed and new syllabus were introduced to cater the modern days’ requirements.
Noose around timber smugglers had been tightened and around 40 timber smugglers were sent to jails, he said, adding about 240 million green trees marked for cutting have been saved by KPK Government soon after coming into power.
To ensure massive afforestation under billion trees tsunami project, he said about 5000 plants nurseries were setup to provide saplings to farmers and general public besides providing jobs to youth.
Secretary Forests and Environment, Nazar Hussain Shah said about 3,000 acres land of forest department were retrieved from the land grabbers and strict action had been taken against timber mafia.
Director General PFI, Hakeem Shah in his welcome address urged the Chief Minister to upgrade status of PFI to a National University of Forest and the Advisor to the Chief Minister for Environment and Forests Ishtiaq Urmar agreed with the proposal.
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Conservators of KPK, Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and senior officers of Sindh and Balochistan besides faculty members and senior alumni of the institute, gold medalists students of BSc and MSc forestry and students in large number attended the PFI golden jubilee and convocation ceremonies.