LAHORE: South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tahir Rasheed said on Sunday that the company with the help of private sector will plant 130 million trees over an area of 99,077 acres of forestland in five districts of south Punjab.
Talking to the media, he said that commercial forestry through a proper management system could play a key role in controlling environmental pollution in addition to reorganising wood industry.
He said that with the completion of 130 million tree plantation project, around Rs240 billion would be added to the economy and government would earn approximately Rs20 billion. The project would also help reduce logging pressure on natural forests of the country, he added.
The SPFC had accomplished feasibilities of different forest plans, he said adding that work on tree plantation would be started by April this year.
Rasheed said that Punjab government had taken a landmark step to reduce deforestation in South Punjab and providing sustainable wood to the wood-based industry.
He said that according to the vision of Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, Forests Department has been strengthened and is formulating a set of comprehensive recommendations for planting trees across the province.
Answering a question, he said that districts including Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan would be brought under forest cover through this project.
The company is mandated to seek private investment on produce on sharing basis with minimum 15 per cent of SPFC’s share for afforestation and range management under Public Private Partnership using Build Operate Transfer (BOT) mode for a period of 15 years, he said.
Rasheed, while appreciating the Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), said that it is a successful initiative which would help improve forest cover of the country which in turn would lead to the conservation of wildlife.
“This programme will help to adapt with and mitigate the impact of climate change in Pakistan, as the country is vulnerable to the phenomenon”, he concluded.