By Gul Hamaad Farooqi
CHITRAL: A contractor hired by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has chopped around three thousands trees to lay transmission line from a major power project in Chitral district of KP.
According to details, the contractor is chopping down trees and laying transmission line through the fields and forests of local, chopping down thousands of trees in the process.
The Golen Gole Project’s Director, a Mr. Afridi, has said that owners of the trees will be compensated by transferring money to the account fo the Deputy Commissioner. It appears that environment is of the least concern to the movers and shakers of WAPDA, who are being accused by the locals of chopping down fruit-bearing and other trees grown with great hardwork over several generations.
Amirul Mulk, a local person whose trees have been chopped own, said that they were not counseled nor taken into confidence; no permission was taken from the locals for chopping down of the trees, or for using their land for erecting pylons.
The locals have said that the transmission line could have been laid through barren lands, but the contractor, for his own convinience, and to save money, has destroyed the local economy by using fertile agricultural land and by chopping down trees in thousands.
Akbarul Mulk and Dawodul Mulk, two locals, said that while the provincial government is bragging about planting trees and protecting environment, the local authorities are doing the complete opposite. Some of the trees chopped down were over a hundred years old, said the locals.
Former Sub Divisional Forest officer of Wild Life Inayatul Mulk told local journalists that the forest and trees are habitats of rare birds where they make nests and breed.
Affected people of Bebulak have appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and Prime Minister of Pakistan to take action against the WAPDA contractor and officials, and to compensate the people for the use of their land and trees.