Short supply of fire wood created a panic in Chitral
CHITRAL; With the advent of winter season in Chitral, the
oak wood has become a rare commodity which is used for heating and
cooking purposes while its short supply has created a panic in the
area as it is used in hundred percent households.
Almost all the stalls of the city were found empty of the wood due
as the supply from the oak forests in Southern parts of Chitral
including Damel, Sheshi Koh, Arsoon and Arandu.
The stall owners of oak wood complained that the shortage occurred
when the district administration banned their approach direct to
the forest to purchase direct from the owner of the forest and then
transport to the market.
As per the new policy put in place by the local administration,
permits are issued from the office of assistant commissioners and
deputy commissioner to the stall owners to transport the oak wood
from the forest to the market and sell it on controlled rate of
Rs.450 per maund (40 kg).
One of the stall owner, Rahim Bai, told Chitral Times that
the price is not rationalized and impracticable as they derive no
profit on it because the price of oak wood has increased manifold
over the years.
He said that despite the strict ban on the transportation of oak
wood without permits, the forest owners manage to bring the
commodity to the market by their own to sell it at exorbitant rate
which crosses Rs.550 per maund.
He said that if the transportation of the commodity is made free
without being regulated, then its availability will be ensured
while the price will drop considerably.
The consumption of oak wood increases exponentially in Chitral with
the advent of winter season as there is no other source of heating
the living rooms while liquefied petroleum gas is beyond the
capacity of the people while its availability becomes problem with
the closure of Lowari top road due to snow.
No other species of wood are available in the market to be used as
fuel wood except oak and deodar and fir while the last two are
basically used in construction and they are not used for heating of
rooms for radiating less heat and emitting smoke in large quantity
polluting the environment.
When the Chitral DC Osama Ahmed Warraich was contacted, he said
that the transportation of oak wood has been regulated to save the
oak forest from being denuded and it is drifting to the verge of
He said that the prices have been fixed keeping in view the
existing prices at the forest area and working out the
transportation cost coupled with the margin of the traders and the
stall owners will be dealt stringently who overcharged it.
The district nazim Maghfirat Shah, however, favoured the free
transportation of the oak wood which was in vogue as before so that
its scarcity could be contained in the market.
When contacted by Chitral Times , he said that the district
government was planning to make available alternative sources for
heating purposes during the winter season to mitigate the
consumption of oak wood and save its forest from depletion.
But during the current season, the old system should be revived to
make the oak wood available in the market but strict vigilance
should be checked on its prices, he said.