Furniture makers protest raids by forest dept officials.

MANSEHRA -- The furniture makers in Jabori area on Sunday took to the streets against raids on their outlets and confiscation of huge quantity of timber and furniture by the forest department officials.

A forest department team led by divisional forest officer Siddique Khan raided furniture factories and showrooms in Jabori early in the morning and confiscated wooden beams and furniture which was allegedly made of illegally cut timber from nearby forests in Siren valley. The forest officials took away the seized beams and furniture worth over Rs5 million and sealed many saw machines, forcing traders to come onto the roads.

The protesters raised slogans against the government and the forest department. Abdul Wahid, president of traders' body in Jabori, told reporters that forest department had dual standards as those smuggling timber with the help of so-called joint forest committees were given free hand and those earning livelihoods were being punished.

'Poor people who bring firewood from jungle are arrested and fined heavily but those smuggling timber through trucks are given free hand and this dual standard of forest department should come to an end,' said Mr Wahid.


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