LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday launched the country’s first ‘smart forest’ in Rakh Jhok Forest, Sheikhupura. The Rakh Jhok Forest is a part of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development project covering 24,000 kanals of land. Technology giant Huawei will be the smart partner in the project.
This will be the first smart forest of Pakistan that will be equipped with smart sensors and surveillance systems. While addressing the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister said that the Ravi Riverfront Urban project was expected to generate US $40 billion revenue for the country, besides addressing the environmental issues.
“Not only Lahore but the entire country will benefit from this project, which will address the environmental and financial problems,” he added. Talking about the Smart Forest, Khan said that the growth of every plant would be monitored in collaboration with the tech giant Huawei.
He revealed that sensors would keep a vigil on ruthless cutting of trees and expressed confidence that the project would be replicated in other parts of the country. “Ten million trees will be planted in Rakh Jhok Forest through planning for the first time in Pakistan,” he added.
He stressed the need for planting trees to ensure a safe future for coming generations. “Modern cities should be established to address the environmental issues. Lahore used to be one of the cleanest cities in the country, but has now become a polluted city. Mere 640 million trees were planted across the country since independence till 2013, while the PTI government planted 1 billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, during its last tenure. The government aims to plant 10 billion trees across the country,” he added.
The Prime Minister termed water scarcity, deforestation and glacier melting biggest challenge for the country, which was among the 10 most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. He said massive forestation was vital to save the country for the coming generations and added that “if we want to hand over a green and clean Pakistan to our next generation, the plantation is the foremost solution”.
He further said that under the Ravi Urban project, three barrages will be constructed on River Ravi to address the issue of water shortage in Lahore while filtration plants will ensure the provision of clean water to public. On the occasion, he asked Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to remain firm and work towards the timely completion of the project. Earlier, the Prime Minister planted a sapling in the forest and he was accompanied by the Punjab Chief Minister and senior officials.
Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and apprised him about meeting with European Parliament members, Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority and various other matters including university reforms.
During the meeting, the Governor said that he is in contact with European Parliament Vice President Fabio Massimo Castaldo and other members of the European Parliament for extension of GSP Plus status and will soon visit the European Parliament for this purpose.
He briefed the Prime Minister that the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority is working expeditiously on 1500 projects across Punjab, including Lahore, which will provide clean drinking water to about 8 million people and all these projects will be completed by December this year.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Governor to expedite the projects of Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority and added that provision of facilities to the people in health, education and other sectors are the top priority of the government for which all resources are being utilised. Pakistan is also becoming economically strong due to the effective policies of the government, he added.
Moreover, at Governor House the Prime Minister held a meeting with Punjab Chief Secretary Punjab Jawad Rafique Malik and IG Punjab Inam Ghani. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was also present at the meeting.
On the occasion, he was briefed about the law and order situation in the province besides the steps taken by the administration against the land mafia, inflation and hoarding.
He was also updated on the Minar-e-Pakistan assault case and the steps taken for the protection of women across the province. The Prime Minister directed the senior officers to take immediate measures to prevent such incidents in the future and ensure the protection of women. He said that immediate action should be taken against the accused and added that they should get maximum punishment. He also directed them to take steps for the protection of lives and property of the citizens. Punjab Local Government Minister Mian Mahmood ur Rasheed also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed prevailing political situation and party affairs. Chief Minister Complaints Cell Punjab Chairman Zubair Niazi also met the PM to brief him on the performance of the Complaints Cell and the steps taken for further improvement.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021