Peshawar: KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has said that imposing complete ban on any kind of forest cutting, including windfall disposal and actions against timber mafia spoke about our sincerity to improve our environment.
He however revealed that a comprehensive environment policy has been announced for increase in forest covered area and scientific cutting of trees in the province. He however underlined the need of using steel, aluminum and other alternate materials in future construction to save our forest wealth for coming generation and ensuring pleasant environment.
Talking to 45-member delegation of KP Wazirstan Timber and Steel traders Association and taking oath of its cabinet elect at Jirga Hall of CM Secretariat Peshawar, he said that besides other solid measures a number of benefits were also in the pipeline for forests owners and timber merchants.
The delegation while fully agreeing and supporting with the policies of the coalition government of PTI, put forth some of their problems relating to business and IDPs. The delegation was led by its provincial president elect Haji Saif-ur-Rehman Mehsud and Chairman DDAC Mardan Iftikhar Mashwani.
The Chief Minister said that he is fully aware of the problems of forest owners and timber merchants due to ban on cutting as it is the only source of employment for them. He said that his govt even could not think of any loss to anyone including forest owners, rather from the first day PTI led govt was making efforts for mitigation of the victims of poverty and unemployment.
However, he said that forests is most important part of natural environment and sacred trust of the coming generations, whose suitable looking after and protection from massive cutting is our national obligation. To him, he said, cutting a tree and killing human being are equal crimes and its commission must be punished accordingly.
Pervez Khattak said that in past we had faced the outcome and losses of the unnatural cutting of forests. He said that during last one decade the devastations rendered by floods have no precedent in past, whose basic reason is deforestation and battle against nature. He said that destruction of environment for the sake of few rupees and inviting future natural disasters is no wisdom rather it is tantamount to mass suicide.
He said that trees are also living things and their living age and benefits are very crucial for human-beings. He said that Islam has prohibited the cutting of trees before achieving the physical timeline. However, he said for getting individual benefits we are committing this national loss, which in future should be effectively prevented.
The Chief Minister said that provincial autonomy achieved under 18th Constitutional Amendment had multiplied our responsibilities. He said that from his govt has announced a comprehensive environment policy, which also included scientific management plan for forests. Under the new policy, he said, each forests division has separate plan. He said that under the policy scientific management plan for 8 forest divisions of Malakand and 9 for Hazara Division had been given final shape.
Pervez Khattak said that in past the province used to earn an annual profit of Rs.500 million from the sale of furniture wood, but after this ban under Red Plus and Carbon Plus World Plan the provincial government for provision of forests and environment has been guaranteed the provision of Rs.3 billion per annum, which he said will not only benefit the provincially kitty and royalty holders, but will also protect forests from cutting.
The Chief Minister said that under Billion Tree Plantation Plan the provincial government is making hectic efforts for increase in forest covered area for which he said an amount of Rs.1 billion has been allocated in the current financial year.
He said that from students, teachers and journalists to people from all sections of life were being practically involved in this mass plantation campaign and hence all and sundry must fully participate in this environment friendly holy war in the province. He expressed the hope that with the help of people and public representatives the govt will easily achieve the target of plantation and increase in forest covered area.
He said that the harvesting and marketing of dried wood was allowed under Dry Windfall Policy 2003, but it inflicted negative impact and a process of the merciless cutting was started. He said that his government will never allow such illegal business to harm environment in pretext of legal lacunas and relaxation.
He said that developed nations improved their environment and reached climax of progress by consistently pursuing a futuristic vision and we could also get prosperity and make our environment so friendly by following the pursuit.
He said his PTI-led provincial govt will inculcate this spirit of the futuristic approach of development and success whereas we will soon achieve our goals to enter into new vistas of change, he concluded.
He about other problems of the delegation including IDPs made clear that sending back the affectees of Khyber operation has been started while that of Wazirstan would also begin in May next. He said that provincial govt was sparing no efforts to provide health, hygiene, Municipal, education and other facilities to the IDPs and their wards.
He said Rs. 250 million monthly were being provided for house rents of IDPs whereas Rs.2 billion have been release so far. Similarly he said 600 Police Jawans have been recruited for them amongst their own youth while other problems about increasing rashan points and graveyard would be taken up with concern quarter. He said a Mehsud Jirga would soon meeting Imran Khan to sort out all other problems of the IDPs.
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