ISLAMABAD - The Green Pakistan Programme was first delayed due to busy schedule of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and lukewarm response of provinces and now fate of 100 million tree plantation is in doldrums, The Nation has learnt.

Well placed sources told The Nation that PM office conveyed the Ministry of Climate Change that the premier would unveil the PPGP on August 11 but it was changed at the eleventh hour and since then, new date has not been announced.

They said that the Ministry of Climate Change sent a letter to PM office to set a date for the inauguration of the project and PM office suggested the August 11 in this regard. Sources said that the Ministry of Climate Change had made all the arrangements regarding the 100 million tree plantation across the country under this project. They mentioned that it was the main project of the ministry which is going to be delayed due to lack of interest of PM and Minister of Climate Change Zahid Hamid.

Sources said that the incumbent government has triggered work over the PM Green Pakistan programme after the world Climate Change conference in Paris and PM Nawaz Sharif along with his delegation attended the conferee. The international community and experts at that event admired Pakistan Tehrik-I-Insaf Imran Khan’s One Billion Tree programme and appreciated the provincial government’s efforts for making carbon neutral province.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior officer of Ministry of Climate Change on the anonymity said that the PM asked the Ministry of Climate Change to start the tree plantation drive at national level during his visit of flood hit areas of Chitral district last year.

Following the PM’s instructions, the Forest Wing of Ministry of Climate Change had started the work on the proposal of project and engaged the provinces and several meetings were held between provinces representatives and the officials of federal Ministry Climate Change.

Earlier, the Khyber Paktunkhawa government had also refused to join the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme with the excuse that the federal government launched this initiative for countering the provincial government’s Billion Tree Plantation Project in the next general elections. The provinces have also been asked to submit their plans to the federal government along with financial requirements for implementation of the Prime Minister’s five-year flagship Green Pakistan Programme (GPP) across the country and 100 million trees will be planted under this initiative, He added.

According to official details, the Sindh government has completed mangroves plantation on 115,000 acres of land during the last 15 years. The provincial government has also planned to acquire more than one hundred thousand acres of land for PMGPP. Similarly, the Baluchistan government had also utilised more than 10,000 acres of land for the purpose of mangroves plantation in the province. The Punjab government has also given the task to South Punjab Forest Company to take steps for plantation on 200,000 acres of land in Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur regions. However, the Punjab Forest Department does not allow planting a tree having an age of less than three years under the provincial government policy. The KP government is also working on One Billion Tree Plantation plan and around 28 million trees’ plantation has been completed out of it so far.

Talking to The Nation, Secretary of Ministry of Climate Change Muhammad Abu Akif confirmed that the ministry purposed August 11 for inauguration of project but it delayed due to no response of provinces.

He said that the federal ministry sent several reminders to the provinces to submit their plans and input regarding the project because the fifty per cent budget of the project will be borne by provinces. He also highlighted that the required staff for this project is not available. He said that a focal person of this project would be appointed by PM very soon.