Mohmand - Labours and daily wage earners from the border areas of Tehsil Khewazai and Biazai staged a protest in front of the press club, denouncing the forest department’s failure to pay their dues over the last 10 months. This event occurred on Tuesday.
The daily wage earners, namely Muhammad Zeb, Musawir Shah, Rasool Khan, Noor Muhammad, and Haroon Khan, revealed that as per the Forest Department’s directives in Mohmand, around 120 daily wage workers participated in planting trees and undertaking contracts in the border areas. However, the forest department has reneged on their commitment to disburse the rightful payments.
Labor contractors Khalid Khan, Sadat Khan, Sadaqat, and Salam Khan conveyed that they are awaiting dues worth 5.7 million rupees owed by the forest department. Consequently, 120 daily wage laborers have been visiting the forest office daily to obtain their rightful payments, but their efforts have been in vain. The contractors expressed frustration, stating that forest department officials have shown a lack of sincerity towards the laborers by withholding the dues.
The protesters emphasized that they have been left with no choice but to protest and appealed to the higher authorities for a resolution. They also issued a warning that they would block the main Peshawar- Bajaur road for all traffic if their issue remains unresolved.
In response to the issue, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Arsalan Tariq mentioned that the department has made numerous attempts to resolve the matter by reaching out to concerned parties. However, the finance department has not yet released the funds. He highlighted that this predicament is a consequence of the Rs. 10 billion project, which has faced financial constraints following the dissolution of the provincial assembly. As a result, salaries and dues for both contractors and daily wage laborers have been left pending.