Chitral Today
Latest Updates and Breaking News

Villagers protest against non-local mineral leaseholder

Gul Hamad Farooqi

CHITRAL: People of Besti lower held a protest gathering and blocked a road against an outsider leaseholder for depriving them of their right in collusion with a local.

The public meeting was chaired by Mirza Khan, former councilor, who had been elected from the area three times.

Addressing the participants, he and other residents said the mountains of Besti contained precious stones such as emerald. A non-local person namely Imran has got its lease in partnership with Anwaruddin of the area. 

They said it had come to their knowledge that the mineral department had issued a lease to the outsider for exploring another stone but there was the precious emerald and other deposit which were being exploited and taken out of Chitral by the leaseholder. 

They claimed that so far the leaseholder had extracted Rs100 billion worth of emerald and other precious stones from the area and taken them away in the darkness of the night. It was also claimed that the leaseholder did not pay any tax to the TMA Chitral. 

Lease holders Imran and Anwaruddin pay millions of rupees annually to 41 households of Besti upper while their cargo vehicles passed through roads and people’s land in lower Besti, said the protesters. 

They said the road was constructed by local people on self-help basis. At first, the leaseholder entered into a written agreement with the local people and gave them royalty and service charges as well as repaired the road and bridges. But now he does not pay to the locals and even has brought non-local laborers disturbing movement of women in the village.

They said this was a conservation area where ibex, markhur and many birds come for breeding. After arrival of these people, the wildlife species have been disturbed as they use explosives to blast the mountain. This has also caused disappearance of wild animals and birds in the area.

Former nazim Abdul Majeed, former councilor Mirza Khan and Roziman Shah and others alleged that when they demand their rights from the leaseholder, he threatened them. 

The protesters dispersed after a written assurance from the subdivisional police officer Garam Chsahma Tamizuddin that he will call the leaseholder to the negotiating table with the locals and would play a role to give their rights to these people.

You might also like

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected!!