SWAT: Civil society members and environmental activists here on Friday staged a protest demonstration against cutting of precious trees in Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital by its administration.
They gathered at the Saidu Sharif Chowk and marched to the site where the trees were chopped down.
The protesters said that the hospital administration on Thursday cut scores of trees that were planted during the former Swat state to keep the hospital’s environment clean.
“Many trees could be saved as they were outside the construction area, but the administration cut them too which is disturbing for us. They also demolished a state-era building in the hospital for the new construction,” said the protesters.
They said that during the former Swat state the rulers planted trees everywhere and special attention was given to the hospital buildings where trees were planted to keep the environment clean.
“Hospitals were designed in a way that proper green lawns with trees were constructed which ensureda fresh and clean environment to the patients and their attendants,” they said.
The activists regretted that nearly all the trees in the government buildings, along the roads and other areas were gradually chopped down. They said that the government was erecting buildings without taking care of the environment.
The protesters demanded of the hospital administration and forest department to plant trees on the hospital premises. They also asked the government and district administration to plant trees in the government buildings and alongside the roads and streams.
When contacted, district forest officer Waseem Khan said that his office had received a letter from the MS of Saidu Group of Teaching Hospital for the removal of some trees as the government had approved the hospital’s extension plan.
“As per rules, we carried out an assessment of the identified trees and proposed reserved rates and then sent the case to the hospital MS for further action,” he said.
Dr Ziaullah said that approval for removal of the trees was made before his appointment as MS of the hospital.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022