SHANGLA: Over 2000 daily wagers worked with forests and Kohistan watershed division Bisham in Shangla have not been paid their outstanding balance for six months, which has put them into financial crises.
Workers in the district Shangla had worked with the both forests and Kohistan watershed department Bisham under the 10 billion trees afforestation project (10 BTAP) on daily wages for Rs 500 per day, while contractors borrowed millions of rupees for establishment and maintenance of Nurseries.
”Labourers daily visit me and ask of their daily wages, watch and wards (Watchers) also of their salaries but I swear I don’t have a single penny even for fulfilling domestic expenditures. I daily contact the forests department to inquire of my outstanding amount but yet to get positive answer,” Aqal Zamin Khan, a contractor said.
He said, about Rs 2.2 million is due to be paid by the forests department Kohistan as he had established fruit, ornamental, bare rooted and tube nurseries over 97 Kanal land.
According to forests department sources, the most of nurseries are located at Shang Bisham, Shahpur, Chakesar and Puran and landlords were also awaiting of their around Rs30 million pending amount.
“I am a poor daily wager and hardly earn Rs 500 per day while working entire day in scorching heat and chilly weather but it was my first experience that contractor did not pay my daily wages and said that department has not made them payment,” Shah Faisal, a labour told Dawn.
He said due to delay in payment, he quite the job at nurseries and now works as labour in Bisham market to meet his needs.
He said almost every worker had made approximately Rs 100,000 and did not receive a single penny and still awaiting of their balance.
“I quite the nurseries work because except false assurances, that our payment will be made tomorrow and next tomorrow, the forests and watershed divisions nothing made practically for paying our outstanding amount,” Ali Taj, A contractor said.
He said, the workers daily knock his house door and asking of their wages, due to not paying daily wages of the labours on time was caused defamed him in the society.
The contractor added that up to 30-32 labours had been worked with him and Rs.1.6 million has to pay by the Kohistan watershed Bisham.
Hussan Zamin, a daily wager said that 10 BTAP has made his life extremely difficult and borrowing money from neighbourors to run his home stove.
He said, it was his first experience working as labour with forests department Shangla it did not pay his daily wages.
According to sources in watershed division Bisham, Watershed had established nurseries over 554 Kanal land across Shangla, similarly by the forest department Shangla has rented 399 Kanal land for nurseries.
The saplings in almost nurseries were ready and likely to destroy due to delay payment to contractors and daily wagers.
The workers and daily wagers have warned the government that if their payment was not made within a week, they would come onto streets for agitation and also uprooted the saplings from nurseries.
Divisional Forests Officer Shangla, Adnan Ali when contacted, he told The Northern Post that a long delay in payment issue to be resolved soon as the federal government has allocated Rs 08 billion for 10 BTAP in recent budget of fiscal year 2019-20.
He said, it is the federal government matter so it may take sometime, however it is expected that government may pay the funds to the department by next month in July.
Hanif Shah, range officer at Kohistan Watershed told The Northern Post that it true that daily wagers and contractors have not been paid their outstandings for long.
He said, when they received the funds for 10 BTAP, they will pay balance of the contractors and daily wagers the very next day.