KP Govt to convert Ghari Chandan, Mathani Azakhel forests as ecotourism resorts

PESHAWAR, Apr 12 (APP):The Khyber Pakthunkhwa Government has prepared an inclusive plan to covert the first manmade Ghari Chandan and Mathani Azakhel forests as ecotourism tourists for facilitation of Peshawarities.

“We have prepared PC-I for converting the country’s first manmade Ghari Chandan and Azakhel Mathani forests near Peshawar as ‘ecotourism resorts’ and the funds saved in the first phase of billion trees afforestation project (BTAP) would be utilized for its speedy implementation,” Gulzar-ur-Rehman, Conservator Southern Circle, KP Forest Department told APP on Monday.

BTAP’s first phase had been completed with an estimated cost of Rs12,982 million against an approved allocation of Rs22,000 million and thus Rs10,019 million was saved, he said, adding this huge saving amount would be utilized to make these forests as ecotourism and recreational spots.

Ghari Chandan was located some 10 kilometers south of Peshawar where over 3.2 million saplings were planted, mostly indigenous plants which were making a positive impact on non-timber forest produce (NTFP), pharmaceutical and honey sectors.

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Gulzar-ur-Rehman said in the past, most beekeepers had visited Azad Kashmir and Punjab for bees-flora plants but these plants were now available in abundance in KP courtesy to BTAP.

He said priorities were being planted to indigenous and bees-flora plants in 10 BTAP to promote beekeeping and honey sectors besides generating employment opportunities for people.

Conservator said about 90pc targets set for 10 BTAP has been achieved in the southern circle comprising Peshawar, DI Khan, Nowshra, Kohat, Bannu, Charsadda and Lakki Marwat districts and the remaining 10percent would be completed by June this year.

Rehman said a total of 32.43 million saplings were planted in the southern circle in the last two years including 15.39 million during 2019-20 and 17.04 million in 2020-21 in these districts.

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He said spring plantation under SOPs has entered in final stage and efforts were underway to achieve the set target within stipulated time.

Gulzar Rehman said jobs were being provided to labourers, nursery men, women and others workforce under a national afforestation campaign.

The Conservator said forest enclosures were established in remote and inaccessible areas for natural regeneration of forests, which was proving highly successful in KP.

10 BTAP is a national project extended by the Prime Minister to the entire country in 2018 after successful execution of its first phase in KP under which additional one billion trees would be planted in our province.

He said a whopping plantation of trees was an easiest way to counter challenges of desertification, global warming, environmental pollution, climate change and urged masses to plant maximum saplings in spring afforestation campaign to make the province lush green.