CHITRAL: While the PTI government is making tall claims about planting millions of trees and establishing national parks, cutting of trees and poaching is going on unchecked in the famous Chitral Gol National Park.
People from 11 villages around the national park on Sunday protested the failure of the wildlife department to curb poaching and cutting of deodar trees in the park after the community watchers stopped duties a year ago over non-payment of salaries.
Addressing the protest demonstration held in front of the press club here, office-holders of the village conservation committees said the park enjoyed international fame due to the highest population of Kashmir Markhor and snow leopard with a high density of deodar trees.
However, they said poaching and illegal cutting of trees was going on unabated.
The conservation activists said on one hand the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had announced to establish 15 model national parks across the country and on the other it had utterly failed to protect the Chitral Gol National Park due to apathy of officers of wildlife department, including its chief conservator.
They said Fund for Protected Areas (FPA) was created in the ministry and it was the responsibility of the wildlife department to secure the share of CGNP from it every year to pay salaries of the community watchers and carry out other conservation activities.
However, they regretted that the wildlife department had failed to secure the funds, as a result, the salaries of the community watchers had not been paid for last one year.
They said presently the park was at the mercy of the poachers, threatening the population of markhor and deodar trees.