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PESHAWAR: The Frontier Mine Owners Association has accused the Pakistan Stone Development Company of illegally shifting heavy machinery from Chitral and demanded of Prime Minister Imran Khan and National Accountability Bureau chairman to look into it.

General secretary of the association Haji Abdul Jalil told reporters here on Monday that the federal government had provided heavy machinery to the Pasdec for supporting Chitral’s mine owners but it was illegally shifted though the matter was being heard by the Islamabad High Court.

Accompanied by other miners, Mr Jalil, who owns a quarry in Chitral, said the Pasdec had left the work halfway and shifted the machinery and that he had already moved the Islamabad High Court against Pasdec as the shifting of machinery tantamount of committing a contempt of court.

Mine owners ask PM, NAB for inquiry

He said the Upper Dir police had stopped the shifting of machinery but the local deputy commissioner later allowed its movement.

The mine owner said the machinery was shifted to an undisclosed location and therefore, the PM and NAB should step in for inquiry.

“We have invested millions of rupees in the business by constructing roads, purchasing machinery and hiring hundreds of workers but the Pasdec has failed to honour its agreements with investors,” he said.

Mr Jalil said the mining and minerals was the only large-scale revenue generating sector, which needed development but the ‘corrupt’ Pasdec officers had caused the suspension of the exploration of all mines, including model quarries.

He said the Pasdec had been established in 2007 to facilitate mine owners for exploration by modern technology to avoid fragmentation of precious stones and marble.

The mine owner said the Pasdec was run by the production and industries ministry, while the international organisations had provided funds for the sector’s development to export minerals for revenues.

He said under the agreement, the Pasdec had to form management committees and operate a joint bank account with mine owners and monitor expenditure on the purchase of any modern machinery for exploration of model quarry as the payment for machine was made through the joint account.

Mr Jalil said it was also the company’s duty to set up special centres for labourers to train them in use of modern machines and selection of mine areas.

He said the government should order probe into the matter and recover money from ‘corrupt’ elements if the premier was really sincere about eliminating corruption from the country.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018