Only marble factory in Kunar at standstill
ASADABAD (Pajhwok): Owner of the only marble factory in eastern Kunar province says his $250,000 investment was wasted after the government denied him contract.
The factory started functioning three years ago but its operations came to a halt after the government ordered closed marble mines.
The factory’s owner, Malak Lotfullah Zaheer, said his factory which was established three years ago had to be closed a month after its inauguration.
He said the government had awarded him a contract for extraction of marbles, but the contract was cancelled after a month.
He said he had invested $250,000 in the factory and had employed dozens of workers.
Zaheer told Pajhwok Afghan News they would bring marble stones from mines to the factory but now they had been told by the ministry that the president had blocked contracts.
He said 70 percent of deposits in Kunar contained marbles and if the government did not grant him the contract, his factory would collapse.
He said the marble in Kunar enjoyed good reputation for its colours on regional and international level. The government should encourage the industry instead of creating problems for it, he said.
A resident of Asadabad, the provincial capital, Amirullah, said closure of the only marble factory in Kunar had rendered dozens of workers jobless who were now in economic constrains.
He said the government should once again award the contract to the factory in order to encourage the sector in Kunar province.
Amir Muhibullah, whose contract has also been withheld, said he had completed all legal requirements two years ago and had bought equipment from Iran and Turkey.
He said the Ministry of Mines had told them the government had suspended contracts.
He said if the government was not giving them contract, it should buy equipment they had bought for marble extractions.
Kunar Mines and Petroleum director Eng. Haroon Rashid said those lacking permits were not allowed to extract marble stone under the relevant law.
He said they had sent successful bidders to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum for approving their contracts, but the bidders were told the law on mines had been amended.
Under the new law, all contracts are approved by the National Procurement Commission.
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