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Illegal precious stone excavation rampant.

JALALABAD (PAN): Precious and semi-precious stones are being illegally excavated and traded in eastern Nuristan province in the absence of government's writ, an official complained on Wednesday.

Eng. Ashiqullah Hamkar, the Nuristan mines department chief, said huge precious stones deposits existed in every district that could strengthen the country's economy, if legally excavated, the government established its writ and maintained order in areas surrounding the mines.

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Hamkar said the province had large-scale mines containing precious and semi-precious gems. He said the government should strengthen security for the mines in the larger interest of the country and its people.

"Every district of Nuristan has abundant precious stones but we cannot access or explore them because of insecurity," he added.

He said stones such as emerald, ruby and other precious stones were found in large number but the government could not utilise them to generate revenue.

The official said several groups had been involved in the illegal excavations since a decade without any authorization from the government.

The matter had been several times brought into the knowledge of high officials with recommendations of imposing levy and custom duty on exports of precious stones, he noted.

"Such kinds of taxes are levied in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. We also want such taxes on the export of precious stones," he added. They sold precious and semi-precious stones worth 600,000 afghanis during the current year, he added.

rm/ma

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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Date:Nov 27, 2013
Words:258
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