DROSH, June 7: In a major move to check deforestation and take action against the timber mafia, Fazal Elahi, PTI member of the provincial assembly and parliamentary secretary for forests and environment, here on Saturday announced the provincial government’s decision to disband all joint forest management committees (JFMC) in Chitral.
Addressing a gathering of local notables here, the PTI leader acknowledged that there were reports of large scales irregularities in the management of the forests in Chitral. He said green trees were brutally being cut down in the name of windfall and snowfall by a certain group backed by the officials of the forest department.
There were also reports about embezzlement in the amount given to the valley for distribution as royalty to the owners of the forests. He said that this mismanagement and irregularity would not be allowed to continue and the government would also ensure that all those who had misused the forests are held accountable for their deeds.
Mr Elahi dispelled the notion that if a ban was imposed on the cutting of trees many people would go hungry, adding Allah is responsible for providing livelihood and sustenance to everyone. He said that the provincial government had formulated a policy under which neither trees would be cut not the people would be denied their rights.
He said in future if any JFMC was formed at the village level it would be elected in the local mosque and the members would be formally administered oath, and the deputy commissioner and the area assistant commissioner would be involved in the whole process. He claimed that the PTI had come to power with the slogan of a change in handling the public properties and resources.
The PTI government would never allow any irregularity in any department whether it is forest, education, health etc.
Eerlier, PTI Chitral vice-president Razitu Billah thanked the MPA for visiting Chitral and said that the people of the valley had pinned high hopes in the PTI government. PTI local leaders Haji Sultan Muhammad, former nazims Abdul Bari, Suhrab Khan, Sher Muhammad (Arandu), Sher Muhammad (Shishi Koh), Shahzada Sariruddin, Qari Fazal Haq, retired Subedar Usman Khan, Haji Gul Nawaz and others shared the issues of their areas with the parliamentary secretary.