Professional misjudgement led to deforestation in Sindh: chief conservator

The forest area in Sindh has been decreased by 80 per cent since 1971, forest dept informed SC


ISLAMABAD: Chief Conservator of Sindh’s Forest and Wildlife Department Aijaz Ahmed remarked on Friday that deforestation in the province is a result of professional misjudgment.

The forest area in Sindh has been decreased by 80 per cent since 1971, i.e. from 500,000 to 100,000 acres, stated Forest and Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh, in a report submitted to Supreme Court on Thursday.

Commenting on the matter, Nizamani remarked that the facts of the report “are result of professional misjudgment.”

He was speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Sath on Friday.

“My colleagues have been more ambitious in cutting the trees in the area,” Nizamani said, adding massive harvesting happens everywhere but actions should be taken to protect the forests.

He also shared that this is not the problem just in Pakistan, but across the globe. “Foresters worldwide have been ambitious regarding chopping down forests."

When asked how Sindh plans to resolve the issue, he shared: “Diagnosis is necessary and only then can you solve a problem.”

Currently, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is handling the department issues and he has asked for more data on the matter, he shared.

“Over the few weeks, we will take more initiatives to resolve the problem. In Sindh, rapid rotation, proper planning and proper policy will give us desirable results in the next three to five years,” he added.

45,245 acres of forest land encroached in Sindh

On Thursday, the forest secretary informed the Supreme Court that 145,245 acres of forest land was encroached in Sindh, while 64,497 acres were allotted to other departments without the consent of the forest department.

The report stated that 145,245 acres of forest land was under illegal possession in different districts of the province.

It also said that for the past 47 years, forest cover had seen a steady decline without any respite, as the forest department started decaying due to internal mismanagement, corruption, poor governance, favouritism, politicisation, weak control, external interventions in the form of faulty policies and lack of political will to reform the department.

Forest Secretary Syed Asif Haider Shah had said that the forest department remained indifferent, saying that the mode of taking over state land gradually changed from surreptitious to blatant, while the use of forest land in most cases remained agricultural, barring few sporadic instances where it was being used for residential and commercial purposes with the connivance of the local revenue authorities.

The forest secretary also mentioned that 70,000 acres were also leased out to 3,500 people through the agro-forestry lease policy that did not benefit the forests. 

He said the encroached land should be reclaimed through agro-forestry auction with strict lease term of growing 50 per cent of forest on land granted on lease, hoping that if the department was able to implement this on encroached land, it would fetch around Rs2 billion apart from forest cover of 72,000 acres in the next five years.