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    Firewood price shoots up in Paktia

    GARDEZ (PAN): The price of firewood had registered a three-fold increase, compared to last year, in the southeastern province of Paktia, resident complained on Monday.

    The price of 560 kilograms of firewood has jumped to 7,000 afghanis ($143.5) from last year's 2,000 afs, causing serious problems for low-income people.

    His monthly income was Rs 10,000 and could not afford to buy firewood after he met other family needs, a resident of Gardez, Daulat Khan, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    "I'm undecided whether to buy gas or firewood for heating my home in the winter. One kilo of gas costs 70afs," he added, asking the governor to provide work opportunities for the people.

    A vegetable seller, Lal Mohammad, said he could barely buy food for his family, much less purchase firewood. Due to the high price of firewood, he has decided to burn dry twigs during the winter.

    The price has shot up due to a shortage of dry wood in Mangal, Zadran and Aryub Zazai forests, where trees are being felled mercilessly. Another reason is that new saplings are no more being planted in the areas, according firewood trader Habibullah.

    They would buy firewood in Zadran and Mangal districts, where only fruit trees were left, he said, adding traders transferred the wood to Kabul for earning more money.

    Another trader in Samkani district, Shin Gul, said he purchased firewood at a high price and had to ensure a reasonable margin of profit for himself.

    If the government did not pay attention to reforestation, all forests in the area would disappear within three years, creating multiple problems for the people, he warned.

    Gardez Mayor Agha Mohammad Saeedi said they could not intervene to regulate firewood rates because of the free market economy. "In a free market we can't dictate terms to traders," he concluded.