MUZAFFARGARH: The thousands of saplings planted in the district under the prime minister’s ‘billion tree tsunami’ programme have fell a victim to the negligence of the district administration.

On the instruction of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the district administration had selected a piece of land in Khan Pur Bagga Sher forest area, some five kilometers away from Muzaffargarh city.

Additional Chief Secretary (south) Saqib Zaffar had twice launched a plantation drive during the last six month in the area in which hundreds of school children, some social workers and forest department officials participated, planting thousands of saplings.

However, most of these saplings have reportedly died because of a lack of care and irrigation, leaving the area barren.

Sources say that initially when the saplings were planted, the forest area had become a recreational place for the city residents as the divisional and district administrations remained alert with regard to its upkeep.

However, with the passage of time the officials responsible for irrigating the saplings and taking care of them turned slack, resulting in destruction of these plants.

Sources say that the two tube-wells installed in the area for irrigating the saplings were not working because the forest officials had no budget for the peter engines necessary to run them, leaving the saplings without water.

They forest officials claim that they had been waiting for the funds for the purpose.

Deputy Commissioner Syed Musa Raza said he was looking into the matter.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2022

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