Tribal elders accused the forests and agriculture departments in Landikotal for not facilitating the locals to plant trees and grow seeds in the area. Nepotism has damaged the role of the forests and agriculture department to show any output, elders alleged them. The officials of forest and agriculture departments termed the accusations as unfounded and baseless, claiming they have done much to make the area a green one.
Some local tribal elders under the leadership of Haji Jinnah Afridi complained in Landikotal press club that they have got tired after wandering behind the officials of the agriculture and forest departments seeking their support to provide them with seeds and plants to be cultivated in their fields to cope with environmental problems and to earn some livelihood, but they said their voices have always fallen on deaf ears. They also regretted that FATA secretariat’s officials have always dodged the tribal people with their shallow and unfounded claims regarding planting o a very large scale.
We are crying for the provision of seeds, fertilizers and plants for plantation and cultivation purposes, but in vain, they felt sorry. If the few favorites will be given seeds, fertilizer and nurseries for plantation then majority of them would be deprived of plating and nursery in their fileds, they argued. Our mountains are all barren and without trees, which need to be made green with plantation on a high scale, which can prove beneficial to cope with environment related problems. They also demanded of the government to erect boundary walls and protection walls around their fields to make them cultivatable. Haji Hazrat Shah Shinwari said that he wanted to plant trees and grow crops on his vast barren land, but said that no one was supporting him to materialize his desire.
An official of agriculture department in Landikotal out rightly rejected the allegations leveled against them by the elders and said the complainants were eager to get food package rather than the seeds and plants. Sabir Afridi, the official of agriculture, also said that agriculture department had a planning for providing seeds, fertilizers and plants besides tractors on very cheap rates and food package to those who had already cultivated vegetables and other crops in their fields. The package is “food for work”, which can be availed by those only who had cultivatable lands. The crops, seeds and food package are provided to those interested in the cultivation of crops and plants on their lands to grow greenery and provide income resources to the poor living tribesmen, he maintained. He also said that their filed workers were busy in creating awareness in relation to making the land a green one.
Another official of forest department Falak Naz khan in his views said that so far the forest department has cultivated plants on 350 (acrs) land in Bacha Mena and Dargai in Shelman, adding that more plants would be cultivated on the land, which is round about 100 ( Jerub) under their policy. He said that it was their policy to plant 350 trees on per Acre land.
The local people now take serious interest to grow plants on their lands and to make their barren lands fit for cultivation. The local people are now aware of the environment related problems and its repercussion. That is why the government is also now obliged to create further awareness in the tribal people to pay attention to plantation in the entire FATA, Imran Shinwari observed. This is also a fact that every year the government has pledged to provide nurseries and plants to the tribal people to change the barren lands into a green one, but there in hardly anything on the ground in FATA, another tribal man expressed.