CHITRAL, Nov 8: Chitral city is facing acute shortage of oak wood, which is used for fuel, at the advent of the winter season.
Owner of an oak wood stall Basharat Khan told Dawn here on Thursday that the local administration’s failure to rationalise the price of firewood had led to the crisis.
He said the district price committee ignored the market realities and fixed the price of oak wood at Rs310 per 40 kg and it was unavailable at that rate in the forests of southern Chitral.
Another stall owner, Haji Khan, said the people had to harvest oak and then operated stalls to sell its wood, but the administration didn’t take care for them.
He said at the current rate fixed by the authorities, growers were unwilling to sell wood.
Gohar Khan, a member of Denin union council, said things was likely to worsen after snowfall, which would block roads.
He alleged that fearing the administration’s crackdown, stall holders sold wood before at nighttime at exorbitant rate of around Rs400 per maund.
He said the people had been pushed from pillar to post for wood.
The union council member said wood was the only source of fuel for cooking and heating purposes in the winter season in Chitral in the absence of gas and electricity. He said the acute shortage of wood had troubled local residents.
When contacted, Chitral DCO Rehmatullah Wazir said shortage of oak wood would be over within a few days.
He said the wood shortage cropped up over issues regarding the harvesting of wood from the forests but those issues had been resolved.
“Supply of oak wood from Arandu will begin soon,” he said.
The DCO claimed that firewood was available to the people at controlled price, while the administration had discouraged its black marketing.
AGITATION THREATENED: The residents of Mastuj, Laspure and Yarkhun union councils on Wednesday announced to agitate after Nov 22 against long delay in the construction of Booni-Shandur Road.
Members of these union councils Shahzada Sikandaul Mulk, Qazi Jamaluddin, Wazir Khan and Amirullah Yaftali told reporters here that Rs690 million was allocated for the road project six years ago but the civil and works department had yet to begin work on it.
They said their repeated to the relevant authorities for start of work on the road fell on deaf ears.