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Full Version: Islamabad: CDA decides to change location of Forestry Park
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Noor Aftab
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) decided to change the location of Forestry Park from earlier proposed area near Rawal Dam to Bani Gala, the sources told ‘The News’ here on Saturday.

The sources said the decision to change the location of the Forestry Park has been taken after failure of CDA to acquire land, mainly due to opposition from an influential government figure whose land also falls in the earlier proposed site.

“All the efforts to convince the political figure failed after which it has been decided to change the site of the Forestry Park,” said a CDA official who requested anonymity.

The sources said there were also other issues like encroachment of land by some other people that needed extra efforts on the part of CDA to start work on the Forestry Park project.

An official of CDA said there would be no change in layout plan and the Forestry Park would be set up in line with parameters set at the time of approval of its Project Concept (PC-I).

The CDA board had allocated Rs239 million for the project and after preparation of its PC-I all arrangements were made for its inauguration by a top government official. But various hurdles compelled CDA to postpone its inauguration and now the current situation has resulted in change of location of the project site.

According to the PC-I of the project, the park will be developed in five years and will be divided into blocks of 4 to 10 acres. These blocks will be given to government and private sector institutions in addition to academic institutions for afforestation. Plantation will be carried out by institutions and departments. Boards will be displayed in every block that will mention the total number of saplings, their species and other details.

The Planning and Development Division that is also the sponsoring agency approved the project and it was decided at that time that the CDA environment directorate would implement the project under its guidance.

The basic purpose behind development of the Forestry Park is to protect the local flora and fauna. It will also have the gene pool facility for posterity besides recreational and educational facilities. It will help create awareness among people about the importance of preserving natural environment.

In the first phase of the project the major activities will include contour (half metre) mapping, survey, land development, ridging, bush clearance, purchase of plants, digging of pits, plantation of indigenous species, fencing of poles and gates, construction of water courses along with four water tanks, installation of two turbine tube-wells and setting up of rain harvesting mechanism.

The layout plan of the project also include various attractive facilities including horse and jeep tracks, enclosures of local birds and animals, camping sites, picnic spots, shelters, huts and jeep safari. A specific area will be allocated for the nursery of indigenous plants.

An annual plantation competition would be a regular feature. All institutions and departments having blocks in the park would participate in it and these would be bound to plant only indigenous species of plants.

CDA Director Environment Malik Auliya Khan told ‘The News’ that there have been many speculations that the Forestry Park project has been shelved but “I want to make it clear that we are going to set up the Forestry Park but on some other location in Bani Gala due to some reasons.”

Replying to a question he denied that failure in acquisition of land is the main reason behind change of site of the project and said it happens sometimes and it is not anything that was not done in the past.

He said CDA would thoroughly pursue the Forestry Park project as it has been prepared not only to protect the existing flora and fauna but also promote local species with the help of people.
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