ISLAMABAD Over a hundred thousand cubic feet of forest wood has been lost as result of flash floods triggering unprecedented timber smuggling across the flood-hit region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. TheNation's information unveiled that the four major types of forest trees; Kail, Cheerh, Paluder and Deodar were uprooted by the floods in the thick forest areas of Kohsitan, Battagram, Kaghan, and Naran. The suburbs of Kohistan and Battagram that saw maximum forest destruction include Dasu, Thakot, Dubair, Aiti Abror, Chilas, Dangwal, Byari, Gunthurh, Raanolia, Qyal, Jiglot and Panipatt. The precious timber that was swept away from floods converged into Tarbela Lake and River. This converged wood travels through small tributaries that merge into Indus River that finally leads to Tarbela, Haripur. Deodar is considered as one of the most expensive forest wood that costs Rs 4000 per cubic feet and onwards in the commercial timber market. The price of Kail, another very precious wood, ranges from Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 per cubic feet. The Government departments said that it was not possible to calculate the amount of lost or smuggled wood, President Battagram Traders Union, Saeed Khan said that informal estimates conducted by wood contractors suggested that the timber loss exceeded 100,000 cubic feet. Keeping in view the market prices of these expensive woods, over Rs 200 to Rs 300 million are believed to have gone to pervasive timber black market. The smuggled commodity includes uprooted trees as well as the refined and trimmed wood logs. Apart from Tarbela, other focal areas of timber smuggling include Bheer, a suburb of Haripur and Kaladhaka district. The smuggled timber mostly belongs to governments forest departments, private timber contractors and local landowners. Realising the gravity of situation, the district administration in Haripur has imposed Section 144 to curb this heinous trade. Syed Mohsin Shah, District Coordination Officer (DCO), Haripur, confirmed to this scribe on Monday that Section 144 was imposed to address timber smuggling. He said that local police recovered huge chunks of woods. I have instructed District Police Officer Haripur to take stern action against the smugglers. These are the local people who are into this practice, he added. The DCO said that locals from Kohistan and Battagram were visiting Haripur to recover their lost woods. District Forest Officer (DFO), Haripur, Inayatullah Khan Masood informed TheNation that it was not possible to calculate the exact amount of lost wood but he confirmed that a huge chunk of precious wood had been either lost or smuggled. He said that the DFOs of all the districts where timber smuggling was on the rise were working in coordination to resolve the problem. He apprised that the forest department at Garband had created a depot where lost timber was assembled. According to DFO, Hazara Division was divided into upper and lower Hazara. Upper Hazara constituted Kohistan, Battagram, Aiti Abror and adjoining areas where uprooted wood was coming from while lower Hazara included Abbottabad, Haripur and Mansehra. Senior central leader Tehreek-e-Hazara and former Speaker of National Assembly Gohar Ayub Khan, who has been an eye-witness to the timber smuggling, said that very expensive piles of refined woods were placed at the skirts of Kunar River in Kaghan, GB and small rivers alongside Karakorum Highway that had been smuggled. I have visited those areas, from GB to Thakot, people are stealing wood logs in huge numbers, he added. According to Gohar Ayub, the scenario is a replay of 1992 floods when huge chunks of woods arriving in Pakistan from Indian Kashmir as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir were reportedly smuggled.