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    November 28, 2016



Short supply of fire wood created a panic in Chitral

By Zahiruddin

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 depletion.

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.


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