Forest royalty: Officials accused of keeping amount in personal accounts

PESHAWAR, Feb 22: Forest owners from Chitral district on Friday complained of long delay in royalty payments and demanded immediate disbursement of the money to them. Chitral Today- NewJoint Forest Management Committee Network chairman Ahmad Saad told reporters here that Forest Development Corporation (FDC) was using delaying tactics in payment of royalty to farmer owners stressing them out. He demanded revival of previous royalty disbursement system, saying in the past, the people never faced such problems. Flanked by royalty holders and residents of Chitral forest areas, Mr Saad alleged that officials of FDC had deposited royalty money in personal accounts for getting interest on it. He said FDC had become a redundant institution, which had failed to achieve its objectives and had been working only as a contractor in the district. Mr Saad demanded probe into the matter for action against the responsible officials. “FDC should immediately issue royalty cheques withheld for several months by its officials. We will not tolerate further delay in this respect and agitate for due payments,” he said. Mr Saad said inhabitants of most of the forest areas in Chitral depended on royalty payments as there were no other sources of income. He said forest areas lacked adequate health and education, and other livelihood facilities. He demanded immediate release of royalty payments to people from forest areas in Chitral as well as revival of old payment disbursement system. The royalty holders threatened to agitate if their demands were not met without delay.–Dawn]]>

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