The newly formed tribal districts of KP and specially Khyber district is rich with mineral resources like copper, chromite, manganese and marble etc. However, the ignorance of the successive governments towards its revival, absence of concrete legislation and lack of facilities has badly affected the marble industry in the province.
According to details, Mulagori region of KP is one of the richest hubs for the precious stones including marbles and it was the first area of the country where marble factory was established in 1980s.
However, unfortunately many issues related to legislation, trading routes, taxes, absence of sewerage system and non serious attitude of the government has made Mulaguri the first region to lose half of its factories in last few years.
As per the data, Pakistan has over 3000 trillion tons of precious stones resources including marbles and granite. A major portion of these precious stone are extracted from Khyber district of KP.
While talking to Voice of KP, a local owner of marble factory Haji Gul Zaman said that the marbles industry has huge potential to help the local and national economy, however, non serious attitude of successive governments has not allow the industry to flourish.
He further stated that Pakistan has resources of over 3000 trillion tons of marbles and other stones but still our ratio in global market is only 2 percent due to continuous decline in export for the last few years.
Haji Gul Zaman mentioned that over 7000 people were associated with marble industry but it’s decline has rendered hundreds of daily wagers jobless.
He demanded that in order to improve exports and encourage local traders of the existing marble factories, the government should give it a status of industry and owners of the marble factories should be given interest-free loans for expanding their business.
It is pertinent to mention that besides many other issues, the marble industry in tribal districts is also facing shortage of modern machinery. According to the locals’, 80 percent of precious marbles are wasted due to explosion as they had no other facility for extracting stones other than using dynamite.
It’s a fact that Pakistan is passing through economic crisis, therefore, government should take every available opportunity to improve its revenue and exports. Development of marble industry will not only help the local economy but will also contribute in enhancing national revenue. The government should take measures to modernize the marble industry and also introduce various incentives to attract local and international investors.