MITHI: A large number of villagers living in Thar coal field continued their protest against the mining companies’ alleged discrimination in jobs, their indifferent attitude towards the locals, alleged construction of a dam and other grievances on Wednesday.

The villagers staged a sit-in on the road leading to Block No 1 and 2 near village Tharyo Halepoto of Islamkot taluka for three hours, which resulted in suspension of vehicular traffic of the companies engaged in open-pit mining.

Talking to local journalists, Pir Ghulam Jan Sirhindi, Allah Bachayo Halepoto, Akbar Lunjo, Mohammed Saleem Noon and other leaders of the protesters criticised the companies for what they described as their violation of promises made with the locals before they started mining in the area.

They said that high-ups of the companies instead of giving even menial jobs of driver, peon, cook, etc, to the locals, were hiring people from other areas, including Punjab.

They added that dozens of landowners had not been paid compensation of their land acquired by the companies and the Sindh Coal Authority.

They vowed that they would never allow the company to construct any dam, which they said would force thousands of villagers to leave their abodes.

Speaking to Dawn, an official of the Sindh Engro Coal Mines, Farhan Ansari, claimed that all reservations of the villagers would be addressed and their genuine demands would be met.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2016

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