MIA strike deprives 1m workers to obtain livelihood

Shafi Ullah

MINGORA: As many as one million workers have been deprived across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from obtaining livelihood due to strike of Marble Industry Association (MIA) against imposition of taxes on electricity and fuel adjustment in the bills.
The Marble Industry Association has announced a strike and closed more than 4,000 factories across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which had compelled workers for starvation. According to the information obtained from the Marble Industry Association, there are more than four thousand marble factories in the province, 44 in Swat and about five hundred in Buner. These factories employ an average of twenty workers. The total number in the province is more than one million. There are about 900 workers in Swat marble factories who are currently unemployed.
Swat Marble Industry Association spokesperson Dr. Prince Fazal Rahman said that under the guise of fuel adjustment in electricity bills, we are charged between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 while under the guise of quarter tariff we pay up to Rs 75,000. “The bills also include sales tax, withholding tax, GST and further tax which is a gross excess” he added
He said that we have closed factories across the province in protest of the abolition of all these taxes and to accept our demands. “We have started a strike until our demands are met, our factories will remain closed indefinitely” He added. Muhammad Rasool Khan of Truck Owners Association says that 1500 trucks registered with these marble factories in Swat and Buner have stopped, due to which 4,500 people associated with these trucks have lost their jobs.
“Factory workers, truckers and all the miners were living in a state of unemployment and severe depression due to closure of factories”. He added. According to Muhammad Rasool Khan, after the coming of this government, people belonging to all walks of life have become very anxious and mentally deranged. Even if their demands are not accepted soon, they will be forced to beg.
Akhtar Khan, a laborer working in a marble factory in Swat, says that the stoves in their houses have become cold due to the closure of the factories. “If left unchecked, there will be famine in their homes” He added. Millions of people associated with the marble industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Swat, are currently unemployed. No progress has been made by the government or any of the relevant agencies in this regard, due to which the problem of the marble industry is becoming serious. However, according to analysts, the government must immediately invite the WAPDA department and the owners of the marble industry for talks, otherwise, thousands of people will be forced to commit suicides.