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Govt slammed for not allowing locals to use timber

Gul Hamaad Farooqi

CHITRAL: Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Chitral held a protest rally at Ataliq Chowk led by its district chief Akhunzada Rahmatullah against rising inflation, unemployment in the country and wrong policies of the forest department Chitral.

Addressing the gathering, the speakers said the life of the poor had become miserable due to rising prices and the PTI government failed to give any relief to them.

They criticized the forest department for its incompetence, adding more than 1.8 million feet of trees had been cut down in the forests of Arandu and the provincial government now wanted to sell the timber under the illicit timber policy.

JI protest against inflation, forest dept“This is tantamount to depriving the right of the Chitrali nation on their natural resource. The whole of Chitral needs 150,000 feet of timber for infrastructure purposes. People will not have to cut wood for the next 20 years if the illegal timber is given to local people on permit basis.”

The speakers also criticized the divisional forest officer for seizing a vehicle carrying 50-year-old rotten wood from forest areas to Chitral town. They demanded immediate transfer of the DFO Chitral. They accused the staff of the forest department of corruption and said no one could cut millions of feet of forests illegally without the patronage of the forest department.

They said the forests of Chitral had been in ruins for the last 50 years with various timbers and branches lying abandoned in the forests which not only caused frequent fires but also burnt the valuable timber.

Millions of tons of timber were also washed away in floods and taken to Afghanistan which made the people there billionaires but we are deprived of even firewood here.

The speakers alleged that non-local people had been recruited as Class IV in various departments of Chitral, demanding an imnvestigation to give the local their right on the jobs. 

Also: Chitral’s forest a ‘windfall’ for timber mafia

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