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Department failed to protect Balkh natural resources: Director

Department failed to protect Balkh natural resources: Director

Feb 18, 2015 - 15:08

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Director of mines and petroleum for northern Balkh province on Wednesday acknowledged his depart failed to protect natural resources in the province due to absence of needed facilities and other resources.

In his exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Habibullah Kohmandi said that Balkh was one of the richest provinces of the country in terms of reserves of natural resources.

The province has abundant reservoirs of crude oil, glass, salt, construction and others precious stones, he said, adding due lack of vehicles officials of his department were unable to monitor the sites of natural resources and prevent illegal excavation.

In addition, he said, interrupted power supply hampered progress of routine office work. The employee had to wait for several hours to turn on their computers to complete their assignments.

Kohdamani said most of the times, contractors created hurdles in the payment of taxes which was another headache for them. Such behavior of contractors caused cancelation of the contract with a particular firm, he recalled.

He demanded the government should address his department’s legitimate demands and issue directions to security forces to help in collecting of taxes from contractors. 

He said that an amount of 24 million afghanis revenue had been collected from the mine sector in the ongoing year. Major part of the revenue came from tax money paid by the contractors.

Khohmadi said the excavation contract of a glass mine in the Chashma Shifa locality would be signed with Yasminra Company which would invest $48 million initially.

He said the company had shown interests to expand investment up to $250 million in the future which would help generate 1,000 job opportunities for the residents of the locality.