Issue of mass deforestation played up for political reasons, says forest committee chief

Official claims that forest cutting is taking place according to regulations.

Our Correspondent December 15, 2012

PESHAWAR: The Joint Forest Management Committee Chitral (JFMCC) on Friday alleged the issue of deforestation was purposely being played up for political reasons and that the truth was being concealed from the area’s people.

Addressing a press conference, JFMCC Chairman Major (retd) Ahmad Saeed Qazi said the issue, which has come up over the past few months, is being manipulated. “Forest cutting in Chitral is taking place according to the regulations set by the Forest Department.”

In accordance with the 1974 Forest Act, 60% of forest timber goes to the local community, while 40% is owned by the government, who spends revenue generated from timber on development in the area, said Qazi.


He alleged that some elders in Chitral along with officials from the Forest Department were falsely propagating the issue of mass deforestation for political purposes. He challenged those raising the issue “to bring it to court or the assembly floor through their elected representatives, so that an investigation could be launched to determine the truth about deforestation claims.”

According to the law, department has to initiate plans to thin out dense forests every 20 years. Qazi said the last working plan for cutting trees was initiated in 1992, 20 years ago.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012.


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