CHITRAL: A mysterious fire that erupted in a forest in Kalash valley of Rumbur’s Sanjiret area could not be extinguished till filing of this report at 9pm on Monday.
Local people said the fire was spreading fast in the forest and trees falling due to the flames were damaging other fauna and flora in the area. It is for the second time that a fire has erupted in the same area. The police and the forest department have failed to arrest those responsible for igniting the earlier fire that had also damaged a large swath of forested area. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained.
In the meantime, newly-elected minority MPA from Kalash valley Wazir Zada expressed doubts that the fire was caused by elements involved in illegal cutting of trees in the area. He said for the last many years a mafia in the area had been igniting fire to green trees in order to take monetary benefit from the timber.
He said the police and the forest department should take prompt action to trace all those behind the destruction of the green trees and stop the illegal practice.
Mr Wazir said the government had been spending millions of rupees on aforestation and protection of trees but a mafia was actively working to destroy the forest for their vested interests. He expressed the hope that the deputy commissioner and the district forest officer of Chitral would take stringent measures to expose the culprits and protect the forests.–Muhkam Uddin Ayuni