Weekly Bang-e-sahar, Saturday,April 12-18,2008
By Our Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Qamar Zaman Kaira has approved timber policy for Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas).
Presiding over a meeting here, the minister said the implementation of the policy would resolve a longstanding issue of the region, said a press release.
The minister gave a deadline of September 30 for completing all actions relating to the timber policy.The minister also laid down guidelines for harvesting of forests linking it with a concerted regeneration policy.
He emphasised on the protection of natural resources like forest through a sustainable policy, since these were a major source of livelihood for the people of the area.
The minister also directed the officials to protect the interests of the people by prescribing a minimum base-price for different categories of trees so that the middle-men could not exploit the poor tree owners and asked the department concerned to submit a policy framework in this connection within a month.
The minister directed the Northern Areas administration and KANA division to develop a framework whereby a portion of the penalties on smuggling of illegal cutting of timber may be passed on to the tree owners.He emphasised that the new government had declared its policy of protecting the poorer segments of society against exploitation by the affluents.
The meeting was also attended by Kana Secretary Salman Siddique, Northern Areas Chief Secretary Chaudhry Qamaruz Zaman, Forests secretary Salman Wali and Chief Conservator Ghulam Tahir.