Rawalpindi - Due to strict policy enforced by the Forests Department, Rawalpindi, forest cutting has been minimised in the circle as compared to other circles of the province, said Conservator Forests North Circle Ather Shah Khagga.

The department lodged as many as 521 FIRs during the last 8 months against those involved in trees’ cutting and timber theft from the state forests, he revealed.

He said that to prevent trees cutting and timber theft from the forests, the department took several steps to cover the circle comprising 280,220 acres of state forests and 789 kilometres of linear plantation.

He said that out of the registered FIRs, 460 had been disposed off while realising compensation from the offenders amounting to nearly Rs3.8 million.

He said that 44 FIRs were registered at various police stations of Rawalpindi and Attock districts against the offenders, out of which, he said, 8 FIRs had been decided while the remaining were pending before the courts.  The field staff members are duty bound to report any irregularity observed in their respective areas to the authorities and to take immediate action against the offenders. Though, the forest field staff is neither armed nor provided patrolling facilities, even then they are striving to fulfil their duties and trying to save the state treasure in the form of precious trees, he added.

To a question, he said that the forest damage was a common phenomenon, particularly in the areas where villages are near. To another question, he said that the Forests Department was also making efforts to achieve target set under Green Pakistan Programme which has been started in the region and so far an area of over 1824 acres has been covered. Shah said that all necessary arrangements have been made to make the programme a success.

He said that as many as 90,600 plants had been planted up to January in North Circle under Spring Tree Plantation Campaign, which, he said, would continue till June.