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GILGIT, March 27: The conventional method of glacier grafting and breeding is noticed getting successful in the Northern Areas since 2001, particularly in the Diamer district, a local NGO claimed at a press conference here the other day.

Parbat Welfare Organization (PWO) president Munnawar Khan informed reporters that his organization would extend its glacier-grafting project to all the five districts of the region by 2004.

This was aimed at countering the droughts in water-deficient areas.

He claimed that in Diamer they had grafted glacier saplings at least at ten sites, which were then bearing fruit, as they had noticed marked increase in the volume and mass of the grafted glacier pieces.

"We are taking cue from the conventional method of glacier breeding which is being practised in the region for centuries," Mr Khan elaborated.

He said breeding takes place at an altitude of 1200 feet in high mountains where "male and female" glacier samples are installed in specially designed pits.

Mr Khan said that they could easily identify male and female glaciers as the male is of white colour while the female is brownish. The latter is found embedded in soil while the former is found atop the surface.

He said it costs them Rs350,000 per pit involving digging, preparing for logistics, transportation and surveys.

He added that salt, water, snow, coal and husk were being used to freeze the glacier samples in the pits "which are chosen in areas where the temperature exists below minus zero Celsius.