BOONI: At a meeting held with Muhammad Nabi Khan in the chair at the PTDC motel, scores of Nigahbans repeated their demand for the release of their salaries stuck up for 14 months.
The meeting was attended by Nigahbans from all parts of the Mastuj subdivision. They were hired by the forest and wildlife departments at different stages during the last about five years to take care of the saplings planted by the previous PTI government in the province as well as check poaching of wildlife in mountains of Upper Chitral.
In June this year, the Nigahbans started a protest and also observed a hunger strike at Booni Chowk for non-payment of salaries. After a few days, they ended their protest on the assurance of the assistant commissioner of Mastuj that not only their unpaid salaried would be released within a month but their contractual services would also be extended.
But when there was no progress made by the government for over a month, the Nigahbans again planned a protest but this time they were invited to the DC office in Chitral and during a meeting there, both the district officers forest and wildlife promised to clear all the dues of the Nigahbans by Sept 20.
However, even after the expiry of the Sept 20 deadline, the Nigahbans have not been paid their salaries and their dues are accumulating. The government continues using the services of these Nigahbans but is not bothered to pay their wages.
The participants of the meeting in Booni asked the government departments concerned to clear the unpaid salaries of the Nigahbans by Dec 10 otherwise they would be left with no other option but to launch a fully-fledged protest move for their rights.