The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest Department has planned to create 25,000 job opportunities for youth in green sector to achieve plantation target of 190.5 million saplings under 10 billion trees afforestration project (10BTAP) during current fiscal year to combat climate change challenges.
Official sources in KP forest department told APP on Sunday that about 190.5 million saplings would be sown in different forest divisions including southern circle, watershed, Hazara, Malakand and merged tribal districts under 10BTAP to offset growing effects of climate change.
To protect the green gold and achieve the set target, the official said 25,000 new jobs would be created for youth during 2020-21.
He said, “Green Stimulus” package had been approved by the prime minister to create job opportunities for thousands of labourers and daily wagers affected by COVID-19 lockdown.
In the first phase of the package, a ‘Green Nigehabaan (caretakers)’ initiative would be launched to provide employment to about 65,000 youth in the country in 10BTAP.
Being a flagship programme of PTI government in green sector, BTAP has been proved an oasis for thousands of jobless labourers and daily wagers to earn better livelihoods for their families during COVID-19 lockdown.
Approximately 66,291 jobless workers were provided green jobs in 10BTAP across the country after they lost employment due to closure of industrial units, public transport, hotels, SMEs, tourism, mines, mineral, construction and other sectors during the lockdown.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, around 22,000 green jobs were provided to jobless labourers and daily wagers, 17,391 in Punjab, 3,500 in Balochistan, 11,900 in Sindh, 3,000 in Gilgit Baltistan and 8500 in Azad Kashmir during the lockdown.
These labourers were given jobs in tube and bare-rooted nurseries, forests enclosures, watering of new plantations, mobalization of public for afforestation, spring plantation and protection of jungles programs in KP. Each labourer were paid Rs15,000 per month and Rs1,50,000 per year in KP.
These jobs are called ‘green jobs’ globally because it reduces pressure on forest and wildlife resources, ensure economic empowerment of local communities, combate climate change and keep economy running during emergencies such as COVID-19 lockdown.
These labourers and daily wagers were hired to achieve spring plantation target of 100 million saplings by June 30, 2020.
The official said spring plantation campaign has been smoothly concluded in KP and all the set targets were achieved despite coronavirus challenges.
First phase of BTAP was launched in 2014 under which over 1.20 billion saplings were planted on 2,30,000 hectares and 4,509 forests enclosures, which registered a record six percent increase in KP’s total forest areas i.e 26.3 pc in 2018 against 20.3pc in 2013.
Under the project, 10 new small and big jungles were raised in the province including Ghari Chandan Peshawar where more than 3.2 million plants on 32,000 hactares land were raised to control rising pollution, temperatures and provide better livelihood to labourers and dailywagers.
Keeping in view of the enormous success of first phase of BTAP, Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched 10BTAP in 2018 under which 10 billion saplings would be planted in all four provinces inclouding additional one billion in KP by 2023.
Under 10BTAP, about 70 percent plantation would be carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 30 percent in merged areas where vast lands were available for afforestation.
He said negotiations with tribal elders were underway for establishment of forest enclosures in merged areas during monsoon season where priority in jobs would be given to local labourers and daily wagers in “Greens Nigahbaan” program.
The official said a strategy for monsoon plantation has been finalized and all stakeholders including farmers, national building departments, students, civil society and others stakeholders would be engaged to achieve 10BTAP targets.
The monson plantation would formally started shortly for which all arrangments were being completed.
Sufficient stock of new plants in forest department nurseries were available to achieve the monsoon targets, he informed.
The official said climate change was a serious issue and plantations was an easiest way require less investment compare to others programs to combat global and climate change challenges.
Originally published at Urdu point