PESHAWAR – Despite losses of valuable lives in marble mines of district Buner, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Labour Department has so far been failed to set up any district labour directorate to deal the affairs of labours who contribute million of rupees per day to the national exchequer.

The total amount being contributes by this marble industry to provincial kitty is 0.4 million rupees per day beside the excise duty, which makes 75000 rupees per day. In case of any tragic incident, the leaseholders who are exploiting labourers in these mines sometimes arrange meager amount for the affected family but the poor family of the victim labours have no resources to contact the provincial government and search its office for proper compensation.

On January 27, 2011 a tragic incident had occurred in a marble mine of Bampoha village, when an avalanche of marble stones fell on working labourers in district Buner killing eight workers and injuring of several others.

At that time miners were resting when heavy rocks fall on them. Six workers were killed on the spot, while two others succumbed to injuries in a local hospital. The killed included two owners, a driver and a clerk. Three vehicles were also destroyed in the accident.

Noor Khan was one of the workers who were killed in this incident. His wife said, “My husband looked after our family of ten. He would work all day for us but now he has gone, I don’t know how I will manage to feed such a big family. I hope the government will help us out of this tragedy as we have no other way to earn a living.”

After this tragic incident another incident had occurred on Jan 24, 2012 when a landslide triggered by blasting at a marble quarry buried two workers alive and damaged three trucks in Patora area of the district. No compensation was paid to the victims who were belonging to other area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The deceased were identified as Mohammad Rafiq of Khyber Agency and Barkat Ali of Mingora. The victims had no time to escape the huge boulders of marble that rolled down the mine reservoir after the blast.

Though a huge quantity of Buner Marble is also exported to foreign countries, which also contribute billon of rupee to national exchequer, but unfortunately no step has been taken for the uplift of labourers in district Buner.

Despite having workers welfare board of the labors, the provincial department has so far not established a single school and hospital for thousand of marble labors who are working with various leaseholder and marble factory owners.

Taking to TheNation, President of Marble Association Malakand Division, Afzal Khan, said that they are resolving labourers’ problems in Buner on self-help basis and there is not district office of labor department to handle these affairs.

In this connection a representative jirga of Labor union also meet with secretary labor Akbar Khan but so far no action has been taken.

The local labors have no time to get access to provincial department for resolving their problems as they lacked financial resources to visit these offices.

Moreover, the marble industry has been badly affected due to load shedding which results unemployment of thousand of labors of marble mines.

These industries immediately need a separate grade and uninterrupted power supply to meet the needs of the labors and marble industry owners. 

The local labourers of Buner have demanded of Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and Minister for Labour and Manpower Sher Azam Wazir to take serious notice of this matter and immediately announce a separate hospital and special school for the children of these labourers.