Timber logging: Forest owners demand lifting of decades-old ban

Say it will earn revenue for K-P govt, put an end to timber smuggling.


Hassan Ali June 19, 2012

PESHAWAR:


To control timber theft, private forest owners in Hazara and Malakand division have demanded the provincial government to lift the 20-year-old ban on private forest logging.


Addressing a press conference on Monday, Guzara Forest Owners Association (GFOA) President Advocate Jahanzeb Khan said that the forest sector is “ailing” due to the ban imposed on private forest logging after floods reigned havoc in the area in 1992. He said though the ban was imposed to improve the forestry sector, it has instead encouraged the “timber mafia” to exploit small forest owners.

Khan accused the government of maintaining double-standards, explaining that every year permits were issued for government-controlled forest logging but private forest owners are barred from availing the facility. He said that if the ban is lifted, the provincial government will receive millions of rupees in revenue generated from legal private logging and it will also put an end to timber smuggling. Khan explained that by allowing permits, the forest owners will get more income on every tree they sell legally in the open market, adding that it will also reduce deforestation in the area.

Khan’s stance was endorsed by former provincial minister Yousuf Khan Tarand.

“The aim behind imposing a ban on forest logging has not been achieved in the last 20 years as government officials have failed to control illegal cutting of forests,” said Tarand. He said that private forest owners are being exploited at the hands of the timber mafia, who purchase expensive wood from them on throwaway rates.

The GFOA president said that private forest owners do not have other resources to manage their livelihood and are compelled to allow timber smugglers to cut their forests. He maintained that haphazard cutting of forests is not only inflicting heavy losses to owners of private forests but is also contributing to environmental degradation.

He said the association representatives sent their demands to the provincial minister for environment and forest and also hoped that Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti will fulfil his promise of allowing licences for private forest logging. The chief minister made the announcement earlier in a public gathering in Alllai subdivision of Batagram District.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.

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COMMENTS (1)

oobaid ur rehman abbasi | 8 years ago | Reply

wooooo?what a demand by the forest owners.' It may be recalled here that the government has put put complete ban on the private timber logging to avoid the un controlled theft and cutting of jungles of hazara division.The timber mafia of hazara division and some other parts of the khyber pakhtoonkha had committed rap with the jungles and almost destroyed the lush green and thick jungles of the region.some of the influentials of kohistan and upper hazara division due to illgal cutting and smuggling of trees became billionares .the authorities failed to take any action against them because they were so power ful that even late zia ul haq could not do any thing rather he included them in his cabinet.later the government on the pressure of media reports and ngos put ban on the illgal cutting of jungles.press reports during zia regime can be an evidence . i am of the view that the ban should not only continue but also punishment of such cutters should be enhanced.the forest deptt should be made more stronger and effective in the rural area of hazara where jungles are still being cut which threats not only environment but also destroy the natural beauty of upper hazara division

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