PESHAWAR: Members of the Akhorwal clan in Darra Adam Khel have asked the government to give them royalty for the coal mines in their area.
Representatives of the clan, led by Haji Malik Noor Muhammad, presented their demands at a news conference held at the Peshawar Press Club on Monday.
They said coal mine contracts have been given to contractors who are extracting the resource but are not paying any royalty to residents, adding the mines should be handed back to the locals.
Coal mining began in Akhorwal in 2003, but stopped soon after due to disputes among tribal elders over the payment of royalties. Around 21 mines were opened this year after a committee of tribal elders was formed and tasked with addressing the royalty issue. No progress, however, has been made as yet.
Noor Muhammad said the earnings from exploiting coal reserves should be spent on improving the lives of locals.
“The committee in collaboration with the directorate of mines has made the reserves limited to a few individuals,” he said, adding “The committee does not have any legal status and was only made to exploit the people and the mineral resources of the area.”
He asked the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor and chief secretary of the Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata) to recover the mines from the contractors and hand it over to the locals. “As per local traditions, royalty will be paid to the Akhorwal clan of the Adam Khel Afridis and every family will be able to get its share,” said Malik Yar Akbar, a tribal elder. He claimed that even though the quality of coal is average, it is in great demand across the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.