April 15, 2023
In a briefing with Puran journalists on Friday, April 14, Jamaat-e-Islami emir from Shangla, Najamullah Khan has called on the government to include the widows of coal miners in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Accusing the government of using free flour as a scheme to score votes in the coming elections, Khan stated that the truly deserving members of society be given monetary aid during the ongoing economic crisis.
He urged the authorities to register the widows of coal miners who lost their lives in mining accidents and provide them with the necessary support.
According to Shangla’s Coal Miners Welfare Association, around 4,000 miners are suffering from lung illness alone.
In late 2019, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mines, Safety, Inspection and Regulation Act, 2019 for the registration and inspection of mines and their workers.
According to sources, in some 60 percent of coal mines in the merged districts of KP contractors and mine owners fail to register their workers. Sources also add that Afghan refugees constitute a major part of the workforce in mines and quarries across KP and Balochistan and work in extremely hazardous conditions with little protection. Many of these colliers are also the sole breadwinners of their families.
There are a total of 14 mine crews (rescue workers) across 1,924 mines in KP.
Rescue workers are also not equipped with a universal testing machine mandatory for mines inspection, putting them at risk for their lives.