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By Gul Hamad Farooqi
CHITRAL: Elected councilors and Nazimeen strongly condemned and criticized illicit timber policy of provincial Government. Talking to this scribe Sajjad Ahamd and Naveed Ahamd Baig said that precious wood of Deodar worth billion of rupees have been cut illegally by smugglers and timber mafia in past. They said that Forest department badly failed to stop illegal cutting of forest at Arando and other forests. Now they announced illicit timber policy in which they allow these smugglers and timber mafia to bring these illegal timber from forest to down market in which they will give 40% share to Government and 60% will get by these mafia they added.
These councilors expressed their concern over the present policy that by this way provincial government giving free hand to timber mafia to cut more and more forest and to legalize them by present policy by giving 40% share to government.
Divisional Forest Officer Saleem Marwat told this scribe that these wood (forest) were cut illegally by mafia in past and were lying in forest which were decomposing due to rain and snowfall but the government have no alternate resource except these mafia to bring down these timber from forest to market and to settle this issue for once.
The elected councilors demanding from the government to establish a timber depot at Chitral to sale out these timber on flood and earthquake victims on market rate instead supplying it to down district. They disclosed that some 8.8 million cubic feet timber have been supplied from Chitral to down districts in past where 10 permit holders were benefitted including former forest minister by Government.
At Kalkatak depot National Tree Deodar timber worth billion of rupees ready to be supplied to down district under the wrong policy of KP Govt now the timber Mafia were given free hand to collect more and more timber to show them as they had cut it earlier the KP government implemented illicit timber policy in which the smugglers and timber mafia were allowed and given free hand to show their illegal cutted and hidden timber.
The government will fine them nominally and that they will get 60% share after selling of these timber at big market which is selling 5000 per cubic foot but it is feared that they cut fresh and green trunk and to show them as old one.
Some 8863485 cubic feet (CFT) timber have been supplied to down districts from Chitral but the Govt record show only a few hundred of cft timber. Local people expressed their concern over the present policy that after implementing of illicit timber policy the smugglers and timber mafia will be given free hand to cut more and more timber because in less number of timber they have no benefit and they will try to cut timber in huge quantity to get more benefits