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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Coalmine leaseholders reject govt taxes

By Munir Khan Afridi
June 11, 2024
Miners fix a collapsed coal mine in Akhurwal village, in Darra Adam Khel town. — AFP/File
Miners fix a collapsed coal mine in Akhurwal village, in Darra Adam Khel town. — AFP/File

BARA: The Coal Lease Holders and Mines Association of Darra Adamkhel and Khyber district have rejected the taxes imposed by the provincial government by terming them heavy, and demanded an immediate withdrawal of the decision.

They warned of protests across all tribal districts if their demands were not met.

Speaking to journalists, Pir Atta Muhammad Afridi, Union President Sabir Afridi, former parliamentarian Baz Gul, and Khyber Coal Mines Association President Asghar Khan Afridi, voiced opposition to what they termed “cruel taxes” imposed on coal lease-holders and mines.

The speakers said the tribal districts had been severely impacted by prolonged militancy. They emphasised on the immense sacrifices made by the tribal people, who had to vacate their homes and businesses, relocating to safer areas.

“First, we rejected the forcible merger of Fata into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and now we reject the imposition of taxes on tribal districts,” stated ex-MNA Baz Gul Afridi, adding that the tribal people opposed all forms of taxation imposed on them.

The speakers urged the provincial government to provide jobs and basic mining-related facilities to the tribal population.

Baz Gul Afridi declared that they would not pay these taxes under any circumstances and would take measures against this decision.

A significant number of leaseholders and contractors, including those from the Mines Owners Association Khyber, attended the meeting and unanimously rejected the taxes imposed by the government.

They pointed out that the government had failed to provide necessary explosives to the mine owners in Khyber district and other areas, causing numerous operational issues.

The speakers claimed that many contractors had halted work on hundreds of coalmines due to the lack of explosives. They added that local people had become jobless and their families were living in poverty.