GHALANAI: Marble supply continues from 70 per cent of the reserves in Mohmand Agency while a committee has been constituted for resolution of marble-related disputes to streamline the whole process.

This was stated by Mohmand Agency political agent Mahmood Aslam Wazir while talking to this correspondent here at Ghalanai. He said that minerals production played an important role in economic development of the area. He said that all the marble-related disputes were being resolved through jirgas of tribal elders in the area.

Mr Wazir said that the local administration was trying to resolve the disputes and open all the mineral reserves in the area. “For this purpose, we have formed a mountain committee of tribesmen to promote marble exploration and trade in the agency,” he said.

He said that they had awarded 67 mine leases, including 52 for marble, eight chromite, five nephrite and two for manganese, in the area.

The political agent said that he himself was monitoring all the process to check that the actual contractors were present on the sites. He said that tribesmen of the area also checked the process and had signed agreements with the relevant marble contractors in the area so as to prevent illegal mining activities.

“We are trying to open all the marble exploration sites in the tribal region,” Mr Wazir said.

He added that they were taking steps to reduce the use of explosives in the marble mines during cutting and introduce scientific methods so that the precious marble was not wasted by blasting.

He said that the agency’s annual development funds would increase with the increase of marble exploration and business. He claimed that link roads would also be constructed in the mining areas.

A local marble contractor, Ayaz Khan Safi, said that marble of Ziarat in Mohmand Agency was famous in the Asia. “It is necessary to set up tax-free industrial zone in Mohmand Agency to overcome unemployment and compensate the tribesmen,” he said.

The minerals found in Mohmand Agency included marble, chromites, nephrite, dolomite, iron, soap stone, manganese, silica sand, etc.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2017

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