No law to rein in the timber mafia?

CHITRAL, June 6: It seems that there is no law to check deforestation and the activities of the timber mafia in Chitral. Even if there is a law, the timber mafia needs not to be worried or fear anyone because the department supposed to implement the law is on the side of the mafia. timberUnder the law, if a piece of wood is shorter than three feet, there is no check on its transportation out of Chitral. But if it is longer than this size, it cannot be taken out of the district. And taking advantage of this anomaly in the law, the timber mafia in collusion with the forest department of Chitral is cutting precious deodar trees into pieces of less than three feet size at the Lowari top to smuggle it to the down districts where it will be sold at Rs6,000 per foot. To make thing easier for the mafia, the forest department has surprisingly not posted any staff at its check post at Ziarat which is still closed. Under the law, the check post is bound to stop smuggling of timber out of the district. But soon after the reopening of the Lowari top road, the forest department has started helping the timber mafia to smuggle out as much timber as possible causing irreparable damage to the natural environment by rampant deforestation.–Gul Hamaad Farooqi]]>

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