As per reports, labourers working in a ‘tsunami’ nursery workers run by the government, in Basti Sherkhan that is located in KPK’s (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Haripur district have not been paid.
About 63 acres of land is owned by nurseries (run by the government) and none of them has been given salary since December of 2018. However, not just Haripur but workers across the entire province of KP have not been given their salary for six months.
After the success of BBTAP Project (Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation), the government announced a bigger project ‘Ten Billion Tree Tsunami’ (10BTT). About Rs.143 billion were kept for it and the goal was to grow and expand forests in a span of five years, but the ‘tsunami’ nursery workers, employed on a daily wage of Rs. 500, that are actually making this possible have not been paid their wage.
“We have spoken to our officers, written to them, but no one pays any heed to us,” – said the supervisor at Basti Sherkhan nursery, Arif Hussain Shah.
“Each one of these women is needier than the other and I am tired of our daily fights and cajoling and coercing them to come to work and tend to the plants.” – he further added while pointing towards a room of women.
He also stated that the shopkeepers are denying giving them groceries due to the unpaid debt despite him assuring them that the government will pay them. Shah was also concerned that the workers will leave their job if this carries on and the nursery will not be able to fulfil its goal.
“They had stopped giving groceries to them due to mounting debt but then we intervened and guaranteed that the government will pay them and to continue providing them with the rations’’ – Shah added.
Muhammad Tehmasip, project director of BBTAP is very troubled and he says that the five years they had spent on the project have gone to waste because the non-payment has put a hollow in the project in the whole of KP.
The province’s environment secretary Nazar Shah said that the hindrance in the financial fund has been a big challenge and has put a bad impression of the 10BTT project before its initiation.
Funds and payments – a big challenge:
According to reports relating BBTAP project, it seems as though the payment was a big issue in the BBTAP project as well as the workers were not paid up to nine months.
When authorities were told about the issue, Shaukat Yousufzai, KP Information Minister, told Dawn that the payment had been overdue because of PC-1 was under process. He also stated that the first three months were best for planting seeds and for maximum result, the sowing started before approval of PC-1.
Shaukat Yousafzai assured that all the overdue wages of labourers will be paid before eid:
Malik Ain Aslam said that due to the high profile of 10BTT, and due to PTI forming government in two provinces and only fractional association in other three, funding and a common application model has been a difficult challenge.
Although now, after approximately 100 meetings, a consensus umbrella budget document has been formed and submitted. He hopes that the workers will be paid soon.
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