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    Soaring coal prices worry Bamyan residents

    BAMYAN CITY (PAN): Residents say coal prices have increased in central Bamyan province, where extraction work at two mines is in full swing.

    On a daily basis, a large number of trucks carry coal extracted from the mines in Saighan and Kohmard districts to other provinces, but a twofold increase has been seen in the commodity price in Bamyan.

    Last year, a 50 kilogram sack of coal was sold for 170 afghanis ($3.5), but this year, price of the same quantity hiked to 350afs, said Mohammad Amin, a resident of the Zargaran village.

    He asked the government to reduce the supply of coal from Bamyan to other provinces. Amin said he had bought 250kg coal for use during winter.

    But he added it was not enough and he had to buy more coal, despite his financial constrains. "I am a government servant, with a salary of 3,000afs, which cannot meet my family needs."

    Mohammad Jan, a coal dealer in the city, said the buying rate had increased and he was compelled to sell it at a high price.

    Truckers carrying coal from the two mines say the government had levied heavy taxes on transport and diesel prices had also increased.

    Kohmard is one of the remote districts of Bamyan, lying close to the border with northern Jawzjan province. A large number of workers have been employed at the mines.

    An official at the coal enterprises department, Ali Madad, said the government had not increased taxes. He said a tax of 600afs was charged on a tonne of coal.

    Coal sellers might be involved in manipulating prices due to the fast approaching winter when demand for the commodity increased, he believed.

    frm/ma/mud



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