Staff Reporter Peshawar
As per the vision of incumbent provincial government to increase forests cover in the province and to ensure utmost preservation of forests, it has been decided in principle to carry out legal classification of forest areas in the newly merged districts with the aim to ensure better and efficient management of these forests on modern scientific lines. The matter will be presented to the provincial cabinet for final approval.
The decision was taken in a meeting of forest department held here on Monday with the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan in the chair.
The decision has been taken after a series of consultitive sessions with the local community of all the merged districts and other relevant stake holders.
The meeting was informed that during consultation with local peoples and tribal elders, it has been proposed by them to classify the forests of merged areas as Guzara Forests.
Provincial ministers and MPAs from merged districts who attended the meeting also agreed to the same proposal and stressed the need for effective measures on the part of the provincial government for the preservation of forests by stopping illegal cuttings of trees.
The elected representatives put forward their suggestion to protect the interest of local population and take care of their domestic needs of fire wood and timber.
The meeting was told that forests in merged districts would belong to the local community as they use to be even after the legal classification, and the provincial government would only ensure preservation and better management of those forests.
The meeting was further told that after the classification of forests, a comprehensive management plan would be devised for the management of these forests in consultation with the local community.
It is pertinent to mention here that the provincial government would get 20 percent as management charges out of the total income generated from those forests whereas 80 percent would be given to local community, but it was decided in the meeting that the provincial government would waive off its management charges for a period of five years in the best interest of the people of merged areas.
Talking on this occasion, the chief minister termed the challenges posed by climate change as national and international issues and said that the only effective way to overcome those challenges was preservation of forests.
He added that in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the incumbent government has launched clean and green pakistan initiative to effectively deal with the issues of climate change.
He further said that forests found in the tribal districts were an asset, and their preservation was the need of the day.
Mahmood Khan remarked that the provincial government was working under a well devised strategy in order to create employment opportunities by promoting tourism activities and preserving forests in the newly merged districts.