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Tsunami project plants fading away for want of water, care

KOHAT: Trees planted under the Billion Tree Tsunami Project in Kohat have been fading away due to lack of care by the forest department and eight months long drought-like situation.

Civil society members said that during the prolonged dry spell the plants which were planted in play areas, mountains, picnic spots and on roadsides by spending millions of rupees had faded away.

Ittefaq Welfare Organisation chairman said that the forest department had planted thousands of plants in Kata Kanri area where there was no canal. He claimed that the saplings had not been watered for a single time. As a result, the plants had died down due to the area’s 30 miles distance from the forest department.

He said that same was the case in other areas and only those trees were intact which were planted on the premises of government departments, universities, and colleges.

He said that before going to plant such a large number of trees the forest department should have arranged for water so that they could reach the age of self-growth by sucking water from below the ground.

When contacted, district forest officer Mohammad Junaid said that they had three tankers which could not reach all the areas where about 2.6 million trees had been planted.

He said that they were mainly dependent on private tankers to water the vast un-established area. He said that the cost of private tankers was very high as they had to pay between Rs1,500 and Rs2,000 per tanker.

Answering a question, he stated that the mortality rate in established areas was 15 percent, but higher in rural barren areas where they had to replace the dead plants with new saplings. He said that plantation was a continuous process because they had to plant new ones after the old ones faded away.

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RESCUE SERVICE: Rescue 1122 station coordinator Mohammad Abbas Zaidi has said that feasibility for starting the service in Shakardarra and KDA Town has been completed to reach the emergency sites in the whole district in six minutes and 20 seconds.

He told this scribe that it took hours to reach the far-flung areas of the district which put human lives and properties at risk.

District emergency officer Noorul Amin Khattak said that a service station each would be established in Lachi and Gumbat tehsils, Shakardarra and KDA Town.

He said that during their 11 months of functioning they had resolved 674 emergency cases, including 90 fire-related incidents, two of building collapse, 447 medical emergencies and 135 road accidents and shifted 918 patients to hospitals.

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