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November 26, 2020

Illegal mining in full-swing in Charsadda despite ban

National

November 26, 2020

CHARSADDA: Illegal mining of precious mines and minerals is continuing despite the ban for the last two years in the district. It is causing huge losses to the provincial exchequer every year.

Sources said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was losing Rs157.13 million per annum due to the ban on mining and flawed policies to boost the sector in Charsadda. They said that there were substantial mine and mineral reserves on 13,000 acres of land in Charsadda, the native district of Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Mines and Minerals Arif Ahmadzai.

However, they said mining could not be carried out for the last two years owing to the ban and non-existence of specific policies to promote the sector along modern lines.

The sources also said that illegal mining at 15 mine reserves in Charsadda had become order of the day. It has caused huge losses to the government and destroyed the mining sector as well.

They said the provincial government had suffered losses amounting to Rs314.26 million due to the ban on mining during the last two years. Mines and Minerals Department Assistant Director Kamran Ahmad said that they had sent 245 complaints to the police for registering cases against those involved in illegal mining during the last three but only 104 first information reports (FIRs) were lodged against the accused. He added that a few persons involved in illegal mining were arrested while the rest were still roaming free.

The official said that there were 16 big mine and mineral reserves in the district including Manzooray, Khiyali, Dheri Zardad, Panra Jranda, Kanure, Subhan Khawar, Hajizai, Ziarat Chulghazai, Agra, Sardaryab, Shabara, Nissata Tapo, Subhan Khawar Block-B, Nawan Dhand, Munda Pul and Hat Canal.

Mines and Minerals Department Assistant Director (Monitoring) Sajid Khan said that minimum punishment for illegal mining was five years’ imprisonment and Rs2 million fine under sections 56 and 86 of the Mine and Minerals Act 2019 but until now no one had been punished in Charsadda for the said crime.

About the non-arrest of persons involved in illegal mining in the district, police officials said that cases were registered as per rules against the accused. However, they said that cases were registered against the drivers of the vehicles only for carrying minerals illegally. The drivers, they added, belonged to far-off districts of the province so their arrest could not be made immediately.