HARIPUR: Two villagers died after receiving burns while fighting a wildfire that erupted in Gandiyan village forest, police and locals said on Saturday.

They said some miscreants had set the forest on fire on Friday evening and as usual the ill-equipped forest department and local authorities called the villagers for their help.

The locals said dozens of volunteers tried to extinguish the inferno and during firefighting on Friday night two villagers, Ehjaz and Abdul Rasheed, received burns.

The critically injured persons expired while being taken to the Haripur Trauma Centre as it took too long to shift them to hospital from the remote hilly area.

It may be added that since June 8 over two dozen incidents of wildfires have been reported from different parts of the district.

As the forest department and district administration are ill-equipped in fighting wildfires they routinely engage the untrained villagers, putting their lives in harm’s way.

MAN DROWNS: A man drowned beneath the spillway of Khanpur Dam, police and witnesses said on Saturday.

Police said despite ban some picnickers were bathing in the down scheme also known as the area beneath spillway of Khanpur Dam when one of them being immature swimmer drowned. Local divers fished his body out and shifted it to the tehsil headquarters hospital where he was identified as Hamza Arif, a resident of Rawalpindi.

TWO COMMIT SUICIDE: Two youngsters committed suicide over minor family disputes in different parts of Haripur on Saturday.

Police said Noman, 19, shot himself dead in Kohaliayan village of Khanpur tehsil. The reason behind the killing was not known.

Also, Hammad ended his life by consuming poisonous substance over unknown reasons in Dheri Sikandar Pur village.

ANTI-ENCROACHMENT DRIVE: The district administration on Saturday launched an anti-encroachment operation in a remote village of Beer union council and retrieved a 10-kanal piece of land from an encroacher.

On the complaints of area people the district administration came to know that a piece of land had long been illegally occupied by a local influential person in Haal Jadaal village.

The illegal occupant identified as Latif was served notices asking him to leave the occupation of land that he was using for agriculture purpose while it was meant for village graveyards and a thoroughfare.

However, upon his failure the anti-encroachment squad headed by additional deputy commissioner Baidullah Shah forcibly retrieved the land. The cost of land is in millions of rupees.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2019

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