PAKISTAN COMES TOGETHER UNDER TEN BILLION TREE TSUNAMI PROJECT; MALIK AMIN ASLAM)

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Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change has said that Pakistan comes together under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project. Being a project of national importance, this is becoming the symbol of national unity and cooperation. He told the provinces to gear up for delivery under the challenging BTT project. Federal government will closely monitor the progress and reward good performance while provinces which falter will have to bear the political cost and risk falling out of a national movement for a sustainable, green and better Pakistan. Billion Tree Tsunami is the face of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and that world recognizes KPK by its afforestation project. 20th July will be celebrated as a national day under the name of ‘Plant for Pakistan’. Prime Minister of Pakistan will plant a sapling in order to formally inaugurate plantation drive. This was stated by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam while chairing the 4th meeting of the Federal Forestry Board on Wednesday in Islamabad. Meeting was attended by Minister of State on Climate Change Ms. Zartaj Gul Wazir, Secretary Climate Change Mr. Hasan Nasir Jamy, Inspector General Forests Mr. Salman Warraich, Secretaries of forest departments of all four provinces including AJK and GB, representatives of NHA, Railways, Pakistan Army, NGOs as well as international organizations. Adviser to the Prime Minister, while chairing the meeting, said that 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Project was the project of national importance that was why all the provinces were on single page and were keen to work together with the Federal Government. Minister of State Ms. Zartaj Gul Wazir said that it was unfair to expect more from KP alone in this project. Other provinces will have to come forward in order to play their part in Federal Government’s afforestation efforts. She also questioned why some of the provinces failed to achieve their current year’s plantation targets. Adviser showed his displeasure over meagre targets by all the provinces for plantation during current monsoon season. He advised all the provinces to, immediately, revise their targets and come up with the plan of three weeks starting by the end of July and ending on 14th of August this year. Provinces were asked to present their reports on PC-1’s and progress on ground regarding their approvals from relevant fora. Board also deliberated on transfer of control of Pakistan Forest Institute to the Federal Government over the multiple complaints of quality and management issues. Representatives of KPK and Sindh opposed while all other provinces supported the idea. MoS argued that PFI was a national institute and it should have been a symbol of unity and federation which justified that institute should rest with the Federal Government. It was decided that Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination will be consulted over this matter. Mr. Aslam took the notice of archaic forest laws and deplored their lack of effectiveness to prevent deforestation stating that forest laws all across the world had become tougher and hence provinces should come up with new and tougher laws with heavy penalties. Forest department had previously been neglected throughout the history of Pakistan but this government won’t let that happen again. Prime Minister of Pakistan allocated hefty amount of Rs. 7.5 Billion during current financial year despite a struggling economy. Several other issues like quarterly budgetary allocations, land acquisitions for guzara forests, tug of war between forest and tourism department of KPK, community participation, women owned nurseries and Timber Tax by KPK Government came under discussion. Meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the chair.

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