ISLAMABAD, July 8: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chitral president Abdul Latif Khan has again been fined Rs20.18 million for losing forest department’s timber to floods in the Kalash valley.
A letter issued by Naeem Afridi, deputy forest manager FDC Chitral, on April 2, 2014, (copy available with ChitralToday) stated that a contract for harvesting fallen trees from Lot No 636/M Achulgha compartment No 7 & 8 was awarded in favour of Mr Abdul Latif, son of Gul Sambar Khan of village Nichagh Oweer, tehsil Mastuj Chitral, vide manager forest operation FDC Malakand circle, Saidu Sharif Swat, office No 111/2613/4702 dated 19-01-2010 and deputy forest manager FDC Chitral office letter No 1676 dated 18-01-2010.
It said the work contractor executed an agreement with the FDC on 16-01-2010. The letter added: “Under Clause 22(d) of the agreement, the work contractor was responsible for the safety of timber in the forest, in transit and from the forest to the roadside depot. In this regard, the work contractor was directed vide this office letter No 3064 dated May 15, 2012, 3236 dated June 28, 2012, 185 dated July 16, 2012, 2564 dated June 17, 2013, and 112-14 dated July 11, 2013 to protect the timber from expected floods. But the work contractor failed to make arrangements for the safety of the timber.”
At midnight between August 15 and 16, 2013, there was flooding in the Aghulcha valley which washed down the timber at the above-mentioned lot. The work contractor was again directed to collect/retrieve the timber vide this office letters No 363-65 dated August 16, 2013, and 906 dated November 7, 2013. But again no positive response was received form the contractor.
On the directives of the higher-ups, a committee consisting of the forest department and the DFC officers was constituted by the divisional forest officer vide his office letter No 25 dated August 16, 2013, to ascertain the losses caused to the timber from the flood. The committee submitted its final report in which the following losses/shortages were pointed out: Species
Number of scants Volume cft Deodar 729 8318.92.
Accordingly, a show-cause notice was issued to the work contractor vide deputy forest manager Chitral letter No 1732 dated March 21, 2014 and followed by reminders No 1763 dated March 28, 2014, and 1883 dated April 11, 2014. However, no reply was received till the issuance of this letter.
“Therefore, the work contractor is liable to punitive action under clause 22(d) of the agreement executed by him with the FDC. The work contractor is penalized for the loss of 729 deodar scant 8318.92 cft in the prevalent average market rate of auction held on March 25-26, 2014 at the DFC timber market Chakdara No 1 as under: For the loss of 729 deodar scant 8318.92 cft @ Rs. 2627.38 per cft amounting to Rs. 21,856,954. Penalty under clause 22(d) of the agreement amounting to Rs. 5,000. Total: Rs.21,861,964. The letter said that the above amount was recoverable from the work bills, security deposits or as arrears of land revenues of the said work contractor as per provisions of the agreement.
It may be recalled that Mr Latif had already been fined over Rs.40 million for cutting green trees in the same area of the Kalash valley.