Ministry of Information forms special committee to look into cutting of trees at Radio Pakistan

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If Ministry does not take it seriously, I will look for another foru: Irfan

The Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has set up a special committee to look into the cutting of hundreds of trees by Radio Pakistan Rawalpindi. This was disclosed by Secretary, Ministry of Information, Shahera Shahid at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting here at Parliament House today.

She informed the committee in writing that a four-member inquiry committee has been set up which will be headed by a joint secretary of the Ministry. Director, Ministry of Environment, Naeem Ashraf Raja, Deputy Director Legal, Environmental Protection Agency and Divisional Forest Officer, Forest Division (South) will be the technical members of the committee.

The committee has been asked to submit its report by June 30th. According to the notification, the number of trees cut down, types, ages and prices according to their market value are to be ascertained. Senator Irfan Siddiqui, member of the Committee said that in the previous committee meeting held on June 1, the Ministry was asked to submit its report within seven days with the help of relevant agencies, but even after 22 days, there is no progress on this issue.

Federal Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb said that “I personally assure the committee that this serious matter will be fully investigated and strict action will be taken against those responsible”. Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed also directed to include the ten questions raised by Senator Irfan Siddiqui in the TORs of the inquiry committee. These questions address whether the approval of Ministry of Information was sought before the trees were cut down, which authority gave permission, who decided that these trees have become useless and they should be cut down, How the prices of the trees were estimated, Whether the permission was obtained from any environmental protection agency and on whose orders was the cutting process stopped? It may be recalled that earlier this year, hundreds of trees of Radio Pakistan Rawalpindi were cut down and auctioned for a meagure amount of 7 Lac rupees.

Radio officials said that the trees were cut and auctioned due to financial crisis of Radio Pakistan crisis. Senator Irfan Siddiqui had raised this issue few months back in the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting which is being considered by the committee. Today, Senator Irfan Siddiqui said that if the Standing Committee and the Ministry of Information did not show seriousness on the matter, He would take up the issue at other forums. Senator Naseema Ehsan also protested against the cutting of trees and suggested that a special committee should be set up to investigate the matter.

 

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