PESHAWAR - Owing to massive mismanagement and technical mistakes in the implementation of much propagated Billion Tree Tsunami project, action has been taken against 144 forest officials in Kohat, Bannu and DI Khan.

Sources said that action was taken against 144 persons for their alleged misappropriation of funds and technical mistakes in the implementation of the project. In this connection, disciplinary action was taken against 44 persons and some of them were forcibly retired.

Currently, an inquiry against 19 employees of forest division’s is under way for dereliction of duty and financial irregularities in the project.

Moreover, 60 officers of the forest division were also suspended, sources added. When asked the Project Director Muhammad Tehmasif regarding embezzlement of funds, he said though they have taken action against 144 persons of forest department they were not fined in corruption cases.

He said that action was taken against them due to negligence and mistakes in the project implementation.

The project director said that no one can prove embezzlement of funds in the project and minor mistakes happened due to which disciplinary action was taken against them.

The KP government had said that no kind of corruption would be tolerated in the project. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-backed tree planting effort is expected to hit its billion-tree goal by the end of this year. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had promised to grow one billion trees across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The target so far has brought positive outcome in various parts of KP, however, there were also reports of embezzlement in utilisation of funds.

Till now the government has spent Rs11 billion, however, for the sake of protection, the project has been extended to June 2020 which will cost about Rs18 billion in total in five years.

The World Wide Fund working for the conservation of nature has termed the success rate of these plants in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa up to 90 per cent. But according to a confirmed report, the survival rate of the plants is 88 percent.