Rs 190m in forest royalty ‘embezzled’ in Frontier
PESHAWAR: Residents of Dir Kohistan have demanded the release of Rs 190 million as “forest royalty”, claiming that it was “embezzled by the timber mafia and the officials of the Forest Development Corporation (FDC)”.
Speaking at a news conference, chief of the forest protection society, Maulvi Gul Noor Shah, claimed that the residents of the area merely got Rs 85 million in royalty even though the sum amounted to Rs 400 million. Maulvi Shah said he was struggling for the people’s rights since the last nine years but no one was prepared to solve their problems.
“Previously, governments constituted two inquiry committees to probe the matter. In their reports, both committees recommended that the embezzled amount should be distributed among the forest owners of Kalkot, Lamoti and Gawaldi villages. But until now these recommendations have not been implemented by the government,” he said.
“We demand royalty in accordance with the Khattak Inquiry Committee Report,” he continued, adding that the people had also met with a senior minister of the province who had assured them that their problems would be solved before the current session of the assembly came to an end. He said that people from Dir Kohistan would remain in the city until the senior minister fulfilled his promise.
Maulvi Shah said the FDC had sent Forest Ordinance-2002 to the president for its implementation in the Malakand Division, but the ordinance was not acceptable to people until it was brought in line with their aspirations.
The ordinance, he added, should be implemented after consulting the stakeholders. “Otherwise it would be resisted at all costs.”
He threatened that the people would not allow anyone to lift 500,000-cube feet timber, now lying in Kalkot, Lamoti and Gawaldi village, until their royalty was paid.
Maulvi Shah said Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) government should address this problem. He added that those who wanted to solve this problem by calling a Jirga were trying to keep the MMA government in the dark