QUETTA: Thousands of workers in Balochistan have lost their jobs due to the closure of hundreds of coal mines across the province, including the significant Margat coalfield in Bolan district, a stakeholder revealed on Thursday.

Simultaneously, mine owners are grappling with financial difficulties, burdened by billions of rupees in loans acquired from commercial banks.

“Hundreds of coal mines have been closed in the Margat coalfield over the past two years due to poor law and order situation and other reasons,” Mir Nusrat Hussain Unqa, chairman of the Mines Owners Emergency Committee Balochistan, told reporters.

Mr Unqa, who was accompanied by Malik Ghulam Haider, Muham­mad Iqbal Yousafzai, Ahmed Jan and other committee members at the press conference, said mine owners were unable to confront the terrorists who were not letting them work in the Margat area.

Owners say they are unable to repay bank loans

He said it was solely the government and security forces’ job to combat terrorism and ensure the security necessary for mine owners to reopen their operations.

“Thousands of coal miners have lost their jobs and are struggling to provide for their families in Margat and other areas of the province,” he claimed and added that mine owners were experiencing a substantial financial burden because commercial banks were asking for the repayment of loans that mine owners had taken to sustain their businesses.

He said the closure of mines was also damaging the machinery worth millions of rupees.

He urged Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, the chief justice of Pakistan and the army chief to issue directives for reopening the coal mines while ensuring security for mine owners and workers.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2023

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