LAST week I had the opportunity to visit various relief camps in Ghotki district.
On my way to the Ghotki city, I was really shocked to witness ruthless cutting down of the wood from the famous littoral forest called Belo Mirpur Mathelo (Forest of Mirpur Mathelo).
A local volunteer accompanying us spoke about this ruthless cutting of forests in Ghotki district. He said “This timber mafia includes the local police, forest and irrigation department officials, dacoits and others, who have already cut down a lot of forests, including the ones which were declared 'restricted forests'. Now they are cutting down this forest.”
It is unfortunate that patches of forests in Sindh have disappeared within a short time. Large tracts of forests were cut down during the Zia regime on the plea that these provided safe havens to dacoits.
Forests were cut down but dacoits still thrive and reign over there. If things continue like this, Sindh will soon become a province without forests.
The corrupt forest department officers and other staff are appointed not to man and manage the forests, but to cut, cleanse and remove the forests. This dirty practice goes on.
As forests are known to help reduce the intensity of floods, the impact of the recent floods is said to have been caused by deforestation in the katcha and command area of the Indus.
The government should take notice of this painful situation and save the ecological balance of the province.