BAMYAN (Pajhwok): Thousands of persons were left jobless following closure of a coalmine in central Bamyan province. The move has multiplied coal prices as well.
Local officials say more than 13,000 laborers were left jobless who were directly or indirectly associated with the mining sector.
Most of coalmine workers in Bamyan, Daikundi, Maidan Wardak, Baghlan and Ghor provinces were extracting coals in an unregulated way.
Kahmard district chief, Hadi Saighani, confirmed 30 percent people were left jobless by stopping coal extraction, resulting in economic, social and security problems.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News people were forced to purchase fuel from the district bazaar. The government should provide people with fuel and electricity if it did not allow extraction of coalmine, he remarked.
He argued smuggling of coal was at its peak and the province was facing shortage of police personnel to ensure security for mines.
Without focusing on problems being faced by the people of the locality, the contract for extraction of coalmine had been awarded to a Chinese company, which led to multiple problems, Saighani noted.
Asadullah, the resident of Azhdar valley in Bamyan, while complaining skyrocketing fuel prices, said his province was rich in coal reserves but the bazaar was occupied by the coals coming from Samangan, costing 85 afghanis per seven kilograms.
A coal dealer in Bamyan bazaar, Mohammad Naeem, said the coal in the province was being brought from Dare-i-Souf district of Samangan and Talawa Barfak district of Baghlan, which witnessed 20 percent surge in prices per seven kilograms as compared to the past.
Kahmard district chief, however, said they have shared the problems with the government and Ministry of Mines and Petroleum to resolve the legitimate issue but nothing could be done in this regard.
Mine Director Hamidullah Lali said the issue was being resolved and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum would block illegal mining.
The illegal extraction was underway by warlords, causing child labour, waste of precious minerals and accidental incidents, he added.
The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has stopped mining of coals in Kahmard district after a cave collapsed, inflicting heavy casualties on laborers.
Extraction contract of coalmines of Ashpashta and Klich mines were signed between the ministry and a Chinese company in order to use the coal in mining of copper from Ainak mine in Logar province.
The coal site, the Chinese company took into consideration for extraction purposes, contains about 30 million tones of coals, which the company could use for thirty years.
A factory to generate 400 megawatts power is supposed to be built in Kahmard area, which will be provided to Bamyan City, he said.