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Suspension of supplies hits marble business

Updated:2009-06-24 08:53:27

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Routine business of marble factories in Attock and Khairabad has been affected, besides there is nearly 100 per cent price escalation of marble products, particularly tiles, in the market due to suspension of raw material supply from some northern parts of the NWFP, including Malakand, Buner, Swat and Dir, where a military operation is going on against militants.

Many marble factories are functioning in various areas of Attock and Khiarabad near Indus River on main GT Road.

These units used to produce various varieties of marble products which used to be supplied throughout the country, and these units also used to export it to the Middle East, Europe and Central Asian states.

These factories had been getting raw material (marble stone) for mines of Malakand, Swat, Dir and Buner and other northern areas of NWFP since long, and marble from these areas was considered to be of high quality in the world.

But with the suspension of others business activities, supply of marble stone from marble mines in these trouble areas had been affected due to closure of roads in the wake of ongoing military operation, which not only affected marble factory owners, labourers and daily wagers, but also other related sectors of the marble industry, including traders and transporters.

About 50 per cent drop in production of marble products is being witnessed due to shortage of raw material, causing an increase in its cost and decline in quality, a local marble trader said.

Earlier, marble was available on Rs15 to 18 per foot but now it was being sold at Rs30 to 40, which shows a 100 per cent increase in its prices, he said.

Apart from price escalation, quality of marble products had also been affected, and Sunny White (A-1 quality marble) which was earlier available on Rs20 per foot, is not available in the market and in its place Sunny Gray (low grade) marble, which was earlier available at Rs10 to 12 per foot, is being sold at A-1 marble’s price, he further stated.

Due to non-availability fine quality marble products, construction work on residential and commercial buildings had either been halted or contractors have to compromise on the required marble quality to complete their under-construction projects on time, he disclosed.

Moreover, a large number transporters engaged in transporting raw material from mines of Swat, Malakand and Buner to marble units on a daily basis have also been affected, he informed.

Like Attock, marble units in others parts of the country are also facing the said problem because of hindrance in supply of marble stone from affected northern areas of NWFP, which are a major source of fine quality raw material, he said.

Apart from marble units, hundreds of marble mine owners are also facing the same problem as mining of marble has been suspended due to war-like situation which has rendered a large number of labourers and others related people jobless, he maintained.

However, soon after restoration of peace at Malakand, Swat and Buner, the prevailing situation of marble related business would be normalised, he hoped.

A report also indicated that mines in Buner district of Malakand division alone produce about 30,000 tons of raw material daily.

 

Source:http://www.dawn.com

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