Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Poisoning the earth

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Shabbir Ahmad Rana, the Central Zone chief conservator of forests, has got his facts all wrong. This is evident from a letter of October 2017 duly signed by him and sent to the Gymkhana Golf Club management committee in response to a letter written by the committee seeking his ‘expert’ advice on their proposed elimination of eucalyptus trees blighting the green.

Paragraph 2 of the letter reads: “I would also like to clarify that large sized trees do not eat up all water given to grassy lawns but they use only that which leaches down to the deep soil. Therefore, the hoax created by vested interests mafia or those with no scientific knowledge is baseless and highly detrimental to the environment. The reason for water level going down is not the trees but it is due to the shrinkage of water catchment areas in the uphills and foothills and resultantly depth of turbines in plans (sic) has to be increased throughout the province and removal of even all the trees from the province will not subside this problem. The recommendations of the Agriculture University are not, therefore, scientifically based.”
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 08:45, , links to this post

Once Upon a Line

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Time was that I went around the country riding steam trains. From the narrow-gauge toy train connecting Bannu with Mari Indus to the metre-gauge trains of Sindh and the magnificent broad-gauge workhorses of what was once the North Western Railway, I rode quite a few. The last one I ever rode was the steam-hauled passenger train R-474 from Malakwal to Gharibwal. That was August 1994.

Gharibwal Railway Station

On that trip I met Iqbal Ghauri, foreman at the steam shed at Malakwal. Speaking only sparingly, and then unhurriedly, he kept his voice low, but exuded the air of a man who knew his job and was proud of it. All his life he had worked on steam locomotives and even as Pakistan Railway was phasing out steam, he was hopeful of keeping his engines going. It was clear he was terribly in love with those dark beauties. His commitment and dedication was remarkable and one could not but like the man.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 13:09, , links to this post




My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days