ISLAMABAD: Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas (KANA) Qamar Zaman Kaira on Saturday gave the go ahead to the Northern Areas Administration to implement the timber policy for the Northern Areas and set September 30 as deadline for completing all actions relating to the timber policy.
He was presiding over a high level meeting in the ministry attended by Secretary KANA Salman Siddique, Chief Secretary Northern Areas Ch Qamar Zaman, Secretary Forest Northern Areas Salman Wali and Chief Conservative Forests Northern Areas Ghulam Tahir. In this way a long outstanding issue of the Northern Areas stands resolved. The minister has given a dead line of September 30, 2008 for completing all actions relating to the timber policy.
The minister also laid down the guidelines for future harvesting plan of forests in the Northern Areas linking harvesting with a concerted regeneration policy. He further emphasized that protection of a national wealth had to be linked with a policy which ensured continued sustainability of forests in the Northern Areas.
The minister also directed that the interests of the poor owners of trees should be protected by prescribing a minimum base-price for different categories of trees so that the middle-men did not exploit the poor tree owners. In this connection he desired that a policy frame-work be submitted to him within four weeks.
Kaira also directed that the Northern Areas Administration and KANA Division should develop a framework whereby a portion of the penalties imposed on export of illegally cut timber may be passed on to the original tree owners. He emphasized that the government of the day had declared its policy of protecting the poorer segments of society against exploitation by the stronger segments.-SANA