Forests plantation likely to be cleared for construction of a complex. Photo by Mon Shireen
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: At least 5000 trees – mostly over 50 years old - are likely to be chopped down in Gilgit city as government plans to allocate a major chunk of woodland for construction of a complex.
“The paper work is complete and awaiting approval by the higher authorities,” said an insider privy to the development said on Monday. ”According to the proposal 50 kanals of land is being allocated to Chief Court for construction of its building there.”
The forest plantation, as the land known locally, is situated in Jutial area adjacent to Supreme Appellate Court complex.
“The authorities seem to be in a hurry to remove the forest cover as they have planned to get its groundbreaking by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is scheduled to visit Gilgit on Tuesday,” said the insider about the land allocated to G-B forests department back in 1957 to expand the green patch in the city.
Over the years, the green patch was expanded upto 250 kanals, adding to the beauty of the city. However the latest development has threatened the existence of at least 5000 trees grown up in five decades by spending millions.
The land belongs to G-B forest department and is notified, any attempt to use it for any purpose other than plantation will not only be illegal but also a great injustice with forests department, said a lawyer.
The forests plantation has precious trees like Queta alpine and Chir alpine of at least 50 years of age.
According to experts, the mass murder of trees will be yet another blow to the conservation efforts in G-B where the continuous illegal felling of trees such as pine, kail and deodar, has eroded forest cover more than 50 per cent in the last 20 years — down from 640,000 hectares to just 295,000 hectares.
“It is time the civil society in G-B and especially Islamabad raised voice to stop this insanity and mass murder of trees,” an activist told Outpost on Monday.