Rawalpindi - Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Sunday kicked off ‘Plant for Pakistan’ campaign in Rawalpindi Division while over 5000 saplings were planted at the green belt of Koral Chowk, Expressway.The Federal Minister addressing the participants said the citizens particularly youth should come forward to play their role and make the campaign a success.  He said, “We have decided to establish four nurseries each in seven divisions of Pakistan Railways (PR). We are going to establish three nurseries soon in Rawalpindi Division in Jhelum, Malikwal and Rawalpindi with the help of sponsors from private sector.”

He further said the Railways would kick off its plantation drive on Sept 7 from Margalla Railway Station where nearly 10 kanal piece of land would be covered and saplings will be planted there. “We will make all out efforts to make the environment healthier,” he added.  He said, “We would plant saplings on both side of the railway track till its last boundary as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to save the environment from pollution and make the country green.” Sheikh Rasheed offered private parties that they can get the railways land for establishment of nurseries. He said, strict action in accordance with the law would be taken against the timber mafia and the theft of trees would not be tolerated as the government believes that protection of trees is also its responsibility.  Earlier, addressing the participants, Director General, PHA, Saif Anwar informed that PHA has planted nearly 25000 saplings at various points during this season. He said saplings have also been planted in 58 graveyards of the city with the help of the community. He said all the saplings were provided by the private sector and NGOs. 6000 plants were also arranged till Sept 1, for the campaign ‘Plant for Pakistan’, he added.

Saif Anwar informed that four green points were set up on Aug 13 to provide 5000 free saplings to the citizens while two green points have been set up today, one at Murree Road near Nawaz Sharif Park and another at Gulzar-e-Quaid. 2000 saplings each for the points were arranged especially fruit plants which are being distributed among citizens free of cost, he said. Commissioner Rawalpindi Division, Saif Anjum informed that 1,090,000 saplings would be planted during this season in the division while so far, 802,000 have been planted. He said, nearly 3000 participants are present at the ceremony and over 5000 saplings would be planted in just five minutes.  

The ceremony to start the campaign was organized by the Commissioner Office Rawalpindi Division in collaboration with Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Rawalpindi and Punjab Forest Department. Tree saplings are being planted under the 10-billion tree tsunami plan of the federal government kicked off on the special directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Following the decision of the cabinet regarding the initiation of the mass tree plantation drive across Pakistan from Sunday the program was organized. The campaign’s objective is to motivate general public to make Pakistan greener and inspire communities, industrial sector, organizations and the civil society to come forward to play their role for the cause. The drive is also aimed at enlightening people to create a much-needed awareness about the countless benefits of planting trees. The ceremony was attended by Deputy Commissioner, Dr Umer Jahangir, Additional Commissioner Tariq Salam Marwat, a large number of students, teachers, officers from district administration and Division Superintendent, PR, Abdul Malik, Conservator Forests, Punjab Forest Department, South Circle, Sh. Saqib Mahmood and people belonging to different walks of life.  Later, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Commissioner Rawalpindi, DC, other district officers, students and teachers from public and private schools took part in the campaign and planted saplings.