Coal mine owners reject government taxes

Miners repair a collapsed coal mine in Akhurwal village in Darra Adam Khel town. — AFP/File

BARA: The Darra Adamkhel and Khyber District Coal Leaseholders and Mines Association has rejected the taxes imposed by the provincial government calling them onerous and demanded immediate withdrawal of the decision.

They warned of protests in all tribal districts if their demands were not met.

Speaking to reporters, Pir Atta Muhammad Afridi, Union President Sabir Afridi, former parliamentarian Baz Gul and Khyber Coal Mines Association President Asghar Khan Afridi expressed their opposition to this which they called “cruel taxes” imposed on coal lease holders and mines.

Speakers said the tribal districts had been badly affected by prolonged militancy. They highlighted the immense sacrifices made by tribal people, who had to leave their homes and businesses to resettle in safer areas.

“First, we rejected the forced merger of Fata into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and now we reject the imposition of taxes on tribal districts,” said former MP Baz Gul Afridi, adding that the tribal people opposed all the forms of taxation imposed on them.

The speakers urged the provincial government to provide employment and basic mining facilities to the tribal population.

Baz Gul Afridi said he would not pay these taxes under any circumstances and would take action against the decision.

A significant number of tenants and contractors, including those from the Khyber Mine Owners Association, attended the meeting and unanimously rejected the taxes imposed by the government.

They pointed out that the government had failed to provide necessary explosives to mine owners in Khyber district and other areas, causing many operational problems.

Speakers said many contractors have halted work at hundreds of coal mines due to lack of explosives. They added that local people were unemployed and their families were living in poverty.