Layyah-The district forest officer (DFO) has found 15 employees of the Forest Department involved in illegal cutting and selling of trees worth more than Rs12 million.

The DFO has submitted the report to the high officials. Over 5,000 trees were cut by the forest officers, District Forest Officer Mian Javed Ahmad said. He charge sheeted 12 employees including former DFO Layyah Ijaz Tabusam, Range Forest Officer Javed Durrani, Forest Guard Muhammad Rustam and others who cut the trees from canal banks including rosewood and acacia trees.

According to the report, 1,908 trees worth Rs6.9 million were cut down during the period of former DFO Ijaz Tabusam. As many as 713 trees worth Rs6.8 million were cut during the period of forest guard. Arshad Ali was accused of cutting worth Rs0.4 million trees, guard Naveed Ahmad of cutting 1,195 trees, forest guard Allah Din worth Rs3 million trees, guard Ghulam Nabi of Rs0.3 million trees, and forest in charge Abid Hussain was accused of cutting worth 1,066 trees Rs8.4 million.

Talking to The Nation, DFO Mian Javeed said the trees were cut from the banks of canals. He said that three decades ago, Asia’s third-largest forest was found in Layyah but with the collusion of forest officers, thousands of trees were cut, now banks of canals are empty from trees.

The DFO confirmed the submission of charge sheet against 15 employees of Forest Department but no action has so far been taken against them.

Citizens of Layyah Sana Ullah Wandar, Muhammad Ishtiaq, Shahid Iqbal Malwana, Abu Bakar Sidque, Imran Mahmmood and others demanded strict action against the corrupt officers of Forest Department.