Srinagar, Sep 27 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir is facing shortage of timber as there is a wide gap between its demand and supply in the state.
This information was given by the commissioner-secretary and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to house committee of Legislative Council on Forests.
''Demand of timber is much higher than the availability,'' they said and informed that the SFC was making all efforts to meet the genuine demand of consumers as per a criteria fixed by the government''.
Senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Qazi Afzal was stripped off forest portfolio following the allegation that he was allegedly involved in creating timber shortage in the state to help those importing timber from other areas.
Mr Afzal later resigned as Housing Minister from the Ghulam Nabi Azad cabinet. However, his resignation was not yet accepted by Mr Azad who wanted him to continue without the forest portfolio.
Mr Azad gave clean chit to Mr Afzal saying it was he (Afzal) who was not satisified with the functioning of forest officials.
The committee discussed various issues relating to the functioning of forest department and its various wings. Besides, it took stock of the timber supply position to consumers in the State.
The committee asked the officials to evolve a well knit mechanism and fix clear cut criteria for timber supply from government depots so that all genuine consumers could get timber for domestic use without facing any hardship.
For the convenience of consumers seeking timber, the department should establish a special cell to redress the grievances of consumers on priority, the committee suggested.
The Committee also directed for initiating effective steps to check timber smuggling.