CHITRAL: Consumption of wood for heating and cooking has increased manifold in Chitral after the steep rise in prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and electricity.
A number of timber stall holders in the city said the demand of oak and other species of wood had increased exponentially with the advent of winter and they were unable to meet the growing demand.
Haji Hazrat Faqir, a timber merchant on Booni Road, said he had been associated with the business for last 27 years, and observed fluctuation in demand during the five months of winter, but this year the demand had registered an abnormal increase.
He said about 95 per cent of the demand was for oak wood, which is taken from the forests of southern Chitral valleys, including Sheshi Koh, Ursoon, Damil and Arandu.
He cited the rising prices of LPG and electricity as the only reason for the increase in demand for wood. He said LPG had gone beyond the purchasing power of consumers, forcing them to switch over to wood for both heating and cooking.
“I personally know a number of my customers who had almost given up using wood during the last 10 years when LPG was made available in cylinders.
“Many of them have again placed orders with him for oak wood as they have given up using LPG and electricity for their rising costs,” said Hazrat Faqir.
Timber seller Ashraf Ali in Atalique Bazaar said during the past five years the number of wood stalls had decreased, but this year, a mushroom growth of them was observed in every nook and corner of the city due to high demand of the commodity in winter season.
He said homes needed heating round-the-clock during winter to fight the intense cold. He anticipated a drop in supply of oak wood in the coming days due to high demand. The timber’s price may also jump, he added.
Saifur Rahman Aziz, a businessman from Denin, said he had restarted using oak wood for heating and cooking as prices of LPG and electricity had registered a steep increase this year.
He said refilling an 11.8kg domestic cylinder cost Rs3,000 and that’s why consumption of wood has gone up.