Thousands of pine nut-producing trees chopped down

zhobRafiullah Mandokhail

 ZHOB: As the cold weather arrives the people are seen wearing warm clothes like jackets, socks and winter caps to avoid cold winds here in Zhob – eastern district of Balochistan.

Following the cold forced the people to avoid unnecessary movement and stayed at home enjoying winter special dish ‘Landai’- traditional dried mutton.

Moreover, with cold wave winter delights like Gajar Halwa (prepared with carrots and milk), Jalebee, boiled eggs, pakoras, soup are also on high demand. Besides the Gajar Halwa and Jalebee, the demand and sale of dry fruits including peanuts, almond, pistachio, walnuts, pine nuts, dates, dried apricot, fig and cashew nuts (Kaju) have also significantly increased. It is the source of energy and helps in keeping warm as the mercury drops in bordering district.

It is worth mentioning that pine nuts (Chalghoza) are grown in hilly areas of Zhob district and it is the biggest chalghoza market from where the chalghoza is being exported to China and other parts of the country. But unfortunately, thousands of nut-producing trees have been chopped down, during the recent past, for firewood by local residents of the hilly areas.

The Asian variety of pine nuts is found in the forests up in the Suleman Mountains near Zhob district. The Suleman Range is an extension of the Hindu Kush Mountains . The steep mountains terrain with hot and dry summers and cold winters provides unique ecosystems.

On the other hand, the prices of firewood have also increased and the people belonging to middle and lower classes are facing difficulties to purchase firewood for warmth and cooking purposes, as the severity of weather the demand for locally made firewood stoves also increased. The price of the dry firewood has risen to Rs.700 per 40kg. The wood sellers have started charging extra to worsen the situation. They are charging exorbitant rates as there is no mechanism to control prices of wood in the entire area.

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