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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has promised to end power outages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in five years under the provincial government’s Green Growth Initiative (GGI) that was launched by PTI chief Imran Khan here on Sunday.

“We will install micro hydel power stations and produce our own electricity after which we will not need to beg from the centre,” Imran Khan said, charming an emotionally charged crowed made up of Insaf Student Federation members gathered in good number at Pakistan Forest Institute (PFI), where the project launching ceremony was arranged.

He said that micro hydel units would be installed across the province with which the problem of loadshedding would be resolved. He said that PTI would fulfil its promise to bring about change.

However, it was a rare occasion as Mr Khan acknowledged that the progress to make the change happen was slow. “The rate at which the change should have happened is not happening, the speed, perhaps, is slow, but the promised change will come,” said the PTI chief.

He said that GGI was an important initiative of the provincial government. The objectives of the programme, he added, would be difficult to achieve without the involvement of youth.

Public support to the programme’s success, he said, was vital as it had been seen that the country’s policy to side with USA in the war against terrorism lacked the nation’s support.

“Had the government followed the people’s aspirations, the war would have ended much earlier,” said Mr Khan, adding that time would prove that they (decision makers) sold out Pakhtuns’ blood for the American dollars.

Calling upon the youth, present on the occasion, he said that their future was dependent on the success of the green growth programme. He cautioned them that a horrific devastation was about to come if deforestation continued at the existing alarming rate, city parks continued to fall prey to land grabbers and climate change went unnoticed.

Substantiating his argument in support of GGI’s success, Mr Khan said that rains had already depleted, cities lacked proper waste management system and 250,000 children lost their lives every year because of waterborne diseases.

“Ninety per cent of Pakistan is without effective sewerage system and unhygienic conditions have reached to the maximum,” the PTI chief said, making a case for the public participation in the new initiative.

The programme envisages activities in six broad areas during the next five years, aiming to grow forest cover and area, introduce the use of clean energy, waste management, water and sanitation, protected areas parks and eco-tourism, and climate change and resilience.

Malik Amin Aslam, a central PTI leader, explained salient features of the programme, terming it in fulfillment of the party’s promise to improve the environment if voted to power.

Announcing the provincial government’s agenda for the next five years, Mr Aslam said that the forest cover in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be increased from the existing 20 per cent to 22 per cent in 2015.

The forest density, he added, would be increased from the current 20 per cent to 30 per cent on way to achieve the ultimate target of 40 per cent.

Similarly, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative, a global initiative, would be made operational this June. He said that the province had potential to earn $800 million annually through carbon sales.

The provincial government, Mr Aslam added, would launch this spring its ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ campaign under which two billions saplings would be planted across the province during the next five years.

Besides, an initiative of ‘Youth Nurseries’ would also be pursued, which would create employment opportunities for youth in the province.

There would be a complete ban on tree cutting in the reserved forests for the next five years. Similarly, according to Mr Aslam, urban forestry would be strengthened by reviving the urban areas’ parks.

Public parks, he added, would be reclaimed from the land grabbers wherever the mafia had usurped them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that two types of people were afraid of the PTI’s initiative: people like those who had grabbed Shahi Bagh and the timber mafia that was making billions of rupees.

Mr Aslam, said that PTI lawmakers would introduce a bill in National Assembly to claim compensation for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the next National Finance Commission award for the province’s efforts to protect forest resources and utilise natural resources.

He said that protected areas ratio would be increased from the existing 11 per cent to 15 per cent by 2015. In this respect, safari parks would be established in all the 26 districts of the province for which the provincial government would set up an independent authority and a force would also be set up to take care of the national parks.

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