Shahzeb Khan

DARRA ADAMKHEL: Darra Adamkhel (Sub Division Kohat) has rich resources of coal which has employed hundreds of people, but some disputes are also ongoing over the ownership of coalmines.

Fahim Afridi, a local person associated with coal business, said while talking to TNN that disputes on coalmines in Darra Adamkhel are intensifying with passage of time. He said a dispute emerged which Akhurwal tribe started extracting coal in 2003. He said the tribe tried to resolve the issue according to local traditions, but none of the rival groups agreed for it.

A local contractor, Yousaf Afridi, has allegedly occupied coal in the entire area, while the government has turned a blind eye towards the issue. The said contractor is allegedly using his influence to turn things in his favour. Currently, Akhurwal tribe owns 200 coalmines in Darra Adamkhel.

Fahim Afridi claimed that the contractor doesn’t possess any legal documents. He said several protests have been held against him, but no one is taking action.

Adil Afridi, a local resident, said coalmines were discovered in Darra Adamkhel in 2003. He said people of Darra and also from Shangla and Swat embraced this hazardous work in coalmines to earn livelihood. There are about 500 coalmines in Darra and about a hundred labourers are working in each mine. Labourers work there under extremely dangerous circumstances and they extract coal from a depth of about 1,600 to 1,800 feet with the help of oxygen machines.

Adil Afridi said about 10 ton coal is extracted from each mine per day. A total of 2,000 ton coal is extracted from mines of Darra which is used in brick-kilns and factories.

Abdul Ahad, a local labourer, said he works in a coalmine in Zarghoonkhel Killi under extremely dangerous conditions and extracts coal from under 1,600 feet and gets only Rs1,300 per day. He said six other relatives are also working in the coalmine. He said three of their colleagues fainted few days ago due to oxygen shortage and they were taken by labourers to hospital on their own.

Abdul Ahad said local disputes on coalmines have added to the misery of labourers. He said some coalmines are being closed due to disputes and labourers are left jobless.

In July, an agreement was signed between the residents of Darra Adamkhel and local administration in Islamabad under which the locals of Darra will have ownership rights on coalmines and the influence of illegal contractors will be ended.