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Secretary forest ordered release of Nigahbans’ salaries: MPA

MASTUJ: The secretary forestry, environment and wildlife department KP on Wednesday ordered immediate release of the stuck-up salaries to Nigahbans in Upper Chitral.

This information was shared with over 70 Nigahbans from Yarkhun, Laspur and Mastuj here by MPA Molana Hidayatur Rehman on phone. The Nigahbans gathered here to launch a protest against nonpayment of their salaries for the last nine months.

The Nigahbans contacted the MPA and informed him about their lingering issue and requested him to get it resolved otherwise they would launch a huger strike till death. The MPA sought one hour to discuss the issue with authorities concerned.

“After three hours, the MPA called back and informed us that the issue has been resolved. He informed us that the secretary forest has ordered immediate release of the  salaries to Nigahbans and action against those officials behind the delay in release of the salaries,” one of the Nigahbans told ChitralToday after their meeting in Mastuj.

The participants of the meeting then returned to their areas but said if the issue was not resolved on a priority basis they would come back and start a protest along with Nigahbans of other areas of Upper Chitral.
On Jan 9, both the district officers (DFOs) of forest and wildlife Chitral passed the buck to each other regarding payment to the Nigahbans while talking to ChitralToday on phone.
Last year the Nigahbans in Upper Chitral were paid their salaries after 14 months that too following a series of protests they held in Booni and other areas. Now once again they have been waiting for the salaries for the last nine months.
The Nigahbans were hired by the wildlife departments to look after different mountains called enclosures for the protection and preservation of wildlife and forests. The wildlife DFO now says that it handed over the Nigahbans to the forest departments after clearing their salaries in April 2019.
But the DFO forest is of the view that the enclosures are under the wildlife department and it is the DFO wildlife to a decide if he wants to continue keeping all the enclosures  or shutting any of them. On the basis of a report from the DFO wildlife the forest department will release the salaries of Nigahbans, he told ChitralToday.
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