Stop importing foreign coal: miners urge prime minister

Photo: REUTERS/file

The coal industry has demanded the federal government stop importing coal to be used in the power sectors and industries in Pakistan.

Quetta Chamber of Commerce President Haji Juma Khan Badazai, All Pakistan Coal Mines Association’s Mir Behroz Reki, Fateh Shah Arif and coal mine organisations held a joint press conference in Quetta on Monday.

They demanded that the Punjab government review its decision to ban bricks kilns because many people have jobs linked to it. “If the brick kilns shut down, it will have a negative impact on the coal industry.”

They added that Balochistan’s economy relies on agriculture, cattle farming and mining. The mining industry in Balochistan is on the verge of decline.

“Two million tonnes of coal is extracted from mines in Balochistan every year. The province fulfills 50 percent of the country’s coal demand. One million households are associated with the mining sector,” they said. “Despite having high quality coal reserves in the country, the government is spending money on coal imports.”

In 2017, 10.3 million tonnes of coal were imported.

They added that instead of providing employment opportunities to people, the government is contributing to unemployment because of the measures it has taken. They appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to save the industry. “If we are shut down, the prime minister won’t be able to build five million houses,” they said.

The All Pakistan Coal Mines Association will support brick kiln owners and employees to record their protest against the Punjab government.



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