Timber supply: Locals from forested lands cry foul

Claim Forest Development Corporation officials are earning illegal interest by withholding royalties.


Our Correspondent February 02, 2013
FDC officials were illegally stalling due payments to mint money, says Shifa. PHOTO: SHABBIR MIR

PESHAWAR:


Royalty holders from Chitral district’s forested areas expressed concern over the non-disbursement of their dues and warned they would withhold the remaining timber supply if the payment was not made immediately.


Locals from the district held a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Friday.

Haji Mohammad Shifa, a royalty holder, said wood from Shishikoh and other regions had been duly transported to the timber market in Chakdara, Malakand. However, the Forest Development Corporation (FDC) officials deliberately delayed the payment which created great unrest among locals, he added.

Flanked by Shishikoh Union Council Nazim Noor Mohammad and former nazim Sher Mohammad Khan, Shifa alleged the due amount had been deposited in FDC officials’ personal bank accounts so they could earn interest.

FDC officials were illegally stalling due payments to mint money, Shifa said.

He mentioned royalty holders met FDC’s managing director (MD), but the concerned official told them he was not authorised to deal with the issue, further infuriating those awaiting payments.

“We will not tolerate royalty holders being deprived of their legitimate right,” Shifa warned.

Most of the population from forested areas is completely dependent on these payments as there is no other source of income generation. In addition, these areas lack adequate health, education and other important facilities.

Shifa asked the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to take immediate notice of alleged corruption in Forest Development Corporation and to issue an order for the disbursement of funds.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2013.

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