CHITRAL: Residents of Rumbur in Kalash valley on Sunday demanded an investigation into cutting of green trees in Compartment No one and other areas of Rumbur.
Addressing a press conference in Chitral, Abdulr Saboor Qureshi, Mehrab Uddin, Haji Ghulam Rasul, Sharif Ullah, saifullah Jan, Noor Wali Khan and others said that thousands of trees had been felled and now those involved in it were trying to conceal the logs to avoid payment of royalty amounting to 30.6 million to the locals.
They said that six years ago marking had been done in compartment No 1 in Rumbur to cut trees under the government’s windfall policy for commercial purposes.
Though the required number of fallen trees under the policy were taken away from the area but the joint forest management committee (JFMC) continued cutting trees under the pretext of the same policy.
They said when the local people objected and started a protest, the committee started concealing fresh fallen trees and buried many of them.
they said Rumbur is a very backward and its residents are poor. The government has fixed 60pc of the forest royalty for the welfare of the inhabitants. the mode of payment of the royalty has also been devised and the locals have been made bound to protect the forest.
But the JFMC is not only involved in illegal cutting of trees but is also allegedly pocketing the amount of royalty instead of distributing it among the beneficiaries, they remarked.
The residents said that a non-local person in connivance with some locals has become the chairman of the JFMC as well as the contractor of cutting and transportation of the timber.
These people sold the timber of Rumbur at the rate of Rs35 per foot that is valued at Rs5,000 per foot at the timber market of Chakdara.
They demanded that the government should hold an investigation into the matter to protect the forest and ensure royalty is paid to the genuine holders.–Bashir Hussain Azad