PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Monday decided to lift the over two decades long ban on forest harvesting besides managing forests along scientific lines in line with a working plan made by the government.
“Now, forests will be managed under the government’s approved working plan,” information minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told reporters after the cabinet meeting, which took place at the Civil Secretariat here with Chief Minister Pervez Khattak in the chair.
The federal government has completely banned the harvesting of forests since 1993.
However, since then, a number of adhoc policies have been approved to allow the harvesting of both dry standing trees and those felled by winds.
“Now, timber mafia will be eliminated with the execution of the working plan about the harvesting of forests,” Ghani said, adding that the move would also help benefit forest owners.
The minister said the illegally harvested forest wood would be released after payment of fine to the relevant authorities.
He said a committee had been formed to determine the amount of fine for the illegal harvesting of forests and that it would submit its report to the government on November 18.
In future, forests to be managed under govt approved working plan
The minister said the cabinet also approved ‘The Motion Picture Film CDs Video Stage Drama and Shows Bill 2014’.
“A censor board will be established under the law, which is aimed at regulating cinema, CDs etc. Without the approval of the board, stage shows, CDs, video dramas and movies will not be allowed to screen. It would help eliminate obscenity and vulgarity,” he said.
According to Ghani, the cabinet also decided to regularise 500 doctors working at health facilities in the province on adhoc basis and that a proposed law will soon be tabled in the provincial assembly for approval.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission has already advised the provincial government to avoid the regularisation of adhoc employees insisting it’ll badly impact on the institutions.
The provincial government often regularise adhoc doctors and college lecturers through legislation to meet shortage of staff at the relevant departments.
The public service commission says those passing its tests are more competent academically and professionally than those first appointed on adhoc basis and then regularised through assembly acts.
Ghani said the cabinet also approved ‘The Health Care Commission Bill 2014’ for improving health facilities in the public and private sectors of the province.
“The rights of the patients will be safeguarded, while provision of better health facilities to patients will be ensured with the execution of this law,” he said.
The minister said the healthcare commission would consist of members from both government and private sectors, while its chairman would be selected from among members of private sector.
“The healthcare commission will have power of registration of licences and their renewal and imposition of the relevant fines,” he said.
The cabinet also formed a committee to prepare recommendations for the Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Bill 2014.
Ghani said the committee consisting of senior ministers Inayatullah Khan and Shehram Khan Tarakai and special adviser to the chief minister Mehar Taj Roghani would review the complications in health sector and make suggestions on how to improve them.
Meanwhile, a handout issued here said the chief minister announced the up-gradation of the big hospitals of six divisional cities of the province to the status of teaching hospitals on the pattern of Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar besides providing them with all required facilities, apparatus and medical staff.
Published in Dawn, November 18th , 2014