MANSEHRA, Aug 28: A committee of the local community has demanded probe into the alleged embezzlement of funds at the Mansehra wildlife department.

The funds were meant for preservation of exotic species of pheasants, say Mohammad Ayub and Mohammad Bashir of the Maetah-Jabori committee formed to protect Koklas pheasants in the district.

The provincial government had launched the ‘Integrated Conservation Project’ in different districts of the province to protect endangered species of wild creatures with the involvement of the local community.

Different committees were set up under the June-2012-2013 project in the areas where the rare species are under severe threat of extinction.

In Mansehra district, the Maetah Jabori committee was formed to preserve Koklas pheasant, the Chukain Lassan Nawab committee to preserve black partridge and the Kamal Ban (Kaghan valley) committee to preserve Monal pheasant.

However, the project was a failure due to the alleged embezzlement of funds valuing millions of rupees, according to Mr Ayub and Mr Bashir.

The two claimed that funds of the two other committees were also siphoned off.

They said they had managed to protect Rs0.4 million of their committee from being embezzled.

Mr Ayub and Mr Bashir said the wildlife department was bound by the project to provide the local community with 700kg wheat, carry out tree plantation and build water pond for the cattle, but not a single target had been achieved.

They demanded that the anti-corruption establishment held inquiry into the alleged embezzlement.

TRADERS PROTEST: Local traders on Wednesday took out a rally against the Mansehra Municipal Committee over the alleged failure to provide civic services to the people.

“We regularly pay taxes to the municipal committee but in return, they give us no services. We may stop paying taxes over non-provision of civic services,” representative of traders Haroonur Rasheed told the rally.

Mr Rasheed said on one hand, the chief municipal office made tall claims about government but to the contrary, heaps of garbage existed all around the city and its suburbs.

“We warn officers of the municipal committee to mend their ways and provide civic services to traders and citizens otherwise we won’t pay taxes and launch protest against it,” he said.

The representative of traders said the residents of the city and its suburbs had long been without smooth water supply but the municipal committee was indifferent to the people’s misery.

He said the people in the city had been suffering from unhygienic and polluted environment, which had led to the spread of diseases.

Mr Rasheed said the people would agitate if the city and its outskirts were not free from garbage in the next one week.

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