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LAHORE: The Punjab Forest Department has decided to hire services of informers to check timber theft from its forests.

Punjab Minister for Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Sibtain Khan told a press conference on Monday that to curb the timber theft, informers would be hired who would alert the forest authorities online. The department would spring into action at once on receiving complaint while the informer concerned would be paid a share of the recovered booty, he added.

“As an additional measure, no saw machines would be allowed to be commissioned in a 10km radius of forests.”

Mr Khan said that as a measure to improve forest cover in the province, at least 550m saplings would be planted during the five-year term of the PTI government and of them, 15m trees would be planted in the forthcoming spring season. At least 1.2m saplings would be planted under the Plant for Pakistan programme. He said forest nurseries had so far prepared 25m saplings for the purpose and interested citizens would be provided with plants at 250 sale points across the province.

Replying to a question, the minister said that around 900 acres of the state land recovered in Rawalpindi would be used for planting trees while trees had already been planted at 2,500 acres of land at Balloki.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019