Chitral needs alternative energy sources to protect forests

Gul Hammad Farooqi

CHITRAL: Like other parts of the country, spring tree plantation campaign has also been initiated in Chitral and in this regard a ceremony was arranged near the Chitral Airport.

Deputy Commissioner Khursheed Alam Mehsud was chief guest on the occasion. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Shaukat Fayyaz said on the occasion that trees will be planted on 400 hectors land in Chitral as part of the ten billion tree campaign in the country. He said the Forest Department officials of Chitral will plant about 400,000 plants. Besides that, he said, one million saplings will be distributed among the people free of cost.  He said the campaign will continue in April to achieve the set target.

Deputy Commissioner Khursheed Alam urged the people to take active part in the tree plantation campaign. He said no campaign can meet complete success without the participation of local population. He said the United Nations has also emphasised the need for planting more trees to tackle the challenges of climate change. In this regard, he said an international day for forests is also being observed every year.

Khursheed Alam said the people of Chitral will have to plant maximum trees to avoid the damages of natural calamities. He said floods often cause massive damages in Chitral, which could be reduced by tree plantation.

Meanwhile, DFO Shaukat Fayyaz said while talking to TNN that the people of Chitral use firewood for cooking and protecting them from cold which is putting burden on forests in the district. He said the government should consider a plan to provide subsidised electricity to the people of Chitral for cooking and heating purposes so that the burden on forests could be reduced. He said trees are as important for Chitral as oxygen for human beings. He said excessive tree cutting cause floods in Chitral which often cause massive damages. He said alternate energy sources must be provided to the people of Chitral to save the forests.

Community Development Officer Jameel Ahmed said the trees planted by the Forest Department are also handed over to local people to provide the planted trees best care.

Meanwhile, the DC, DFO, Assistant Commissioner Alamgir Khan, Major Usman of Chitral Scouts., District Naib Nazim Abdul Shakoor, local notables and students planted saplings to formally launch the plantation campaign.