GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan forest and wildlife secretary Sumair Ahmad Syed on Thursday inaugurated the Solar Lift Irrigation Block Plantation Project during a special ceremony in Jutal area here on Thursday.

The project is funded by the Serena Hotel and will be implemented by the Aga Khan Rular Support Programme through the Rahimabad Local Support Organisation.

The event was attended by AKRSP general manager Jamiluddin, deputy director of the fisheries department Ikram Hussain, Serena Hotels director (HR) Dr Moinuddin, other relevant officials and community members.

The secretary told participants that his department had planned to plant 10 million saplings across the region under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project (TBTTP).

He said the department was planting trees in 10 districts in partnership with the community organisations.

MrSumairsaid the government provided saplings to the AKRSP to plant in various areas with the help of the local residents.

Serena Hotels director Dr Moinuddin said 25,000 saplings had been planted over 150 kanals of land along the Karakoram Highway. He said irrigation water was ‘lifted from lower area’ through solar system after the installation of 1600 feet long pipes.

Dr Moinuddin said the initiative would be replicated in other districts of the region to mitigate impacts of environmental degradation and ensure sustainable development.

He said hotels should contribute to the execution of tourism projects in the region.

“GB has environmental degradation threats from the influx of tourists, so every hotel, which operates in GB, should help protect environment,” he said.

AKRSP general manager Jamiluddin thanked the regional government for supporting community development initiatives.

Zafar Abbas of the Rahimabad Local Support Organisation said the local community organisations would ensure growth of trees through regular provision of water to them. He said the plantation of saplings in barren areas through the solar lift irrigation initiative was successful.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2022

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