Helmand precious stones smuggling underway uncheck
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The illegal digging and subsequent smuggling of precious stones underway in the Khanshim district in southern Helmand, the governor informed on Saturday.
Mirza Khan Rahimi told Pajhwok Afghan News some powerful individuals had already started digging of precious stones in the district. “Nobody has taken any measure to prevent them but I have planned to take to take action to control the unlawful digging in the area.”
The companies with licenses and contracts from Mine and Petroleum Department were among unprofessional firms, Rahimi said, saying “the companies are not professionally sound and do not have proper machineries to dig out precious stones. They smashed 20 tons of stones to get only one ton of stone.”
Mohammad Karim Atal, head of provincial council, seconded governor’s views regarding work of digging out precious stones underway by unprofessional companies. He said: “Several firms had been awarded contracts and licenses which they passed on to other companies.”
The smugglers mostly belonged to neighboring Pakistan since border police had not been appointed in the area, Atal informed.
Habibullah Haqparast, director Mines and Petroleum, insisted that government had issued contracts and licenses only to competent companies.
Security was one of the prime issues in the area paving way for smugglers to plunder the hidden wealth, Haqparast added.
Mohammad Lal, director of marble and precious stones processing factory, claimed that his factory was the only processing facility in the province which could process and refine only 50 tons of precious stones in year.
“The government, businessmen and traders can get huge financial gains from the mines, had the government would properly monitor mines and facilitate businessmen to open special processing and refinery factories,” he suggested.
One ton of precious stone costs around 25,000 Afghanis in the market and stones can be used in construction and decoration of homes and offices.
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