Mohmand, a Pakistani district bordering Afghanistan, is going to witness a new era of development as industrialists prepare to install marble processing plants at the special economic zone being developed under CPEC. According to a report published by Gwadar Pro on Sunday, Mohmand, and surrounding districts of Bajaur and Khyber, are rich in a vast variety of marble stones and other minerals. Even then, these districts are known for extreme poverty and unemployment. However, the Mohmand SEZ, expected to generate around 18,000 direct jobs, has the potential to make the district a hub of jobs and business opportunities instead. Bilal Mohmand, an industrialist and convener of the standing committee on marbles and granite of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or FPCCI, sought early provision of facilities to the SEZ. “I have started setting up my plant in the SEZ but there are no access roads or facilities like water supply and electricity”, he said. Several other industrialists had also started installing marble processing plants, he added. The SEZ was firstly envisaged by Pakistan Stone Development Company, or Pasdec, as Mohmand Marble City to streamline the marble stone processing industry in the region and provide facilities for the purpose near the districts rich in these minerals. Later, it was designated as a full-pledged Special Economic Zone under CPEC keeping in view its ideal location, said Waqas Ansari, Project Manager (Marble Cities) at Pasdec. The management of Mohmand Economic Zone was later handed over to the KP Economic Zones Development and Management Company, or KPEZDMC, a provincial government body, following two constitutional amendments, he said. He also said that this shift in authority delayed much-needed facilities including uninterrupted power supply and access roads. A source in KPEZDMC said that the KP government wanted the project to become fully operational before July. Umar Shahid, a technical officer at KPEZDMC, said that tenders had been sought for the left-over works. A week ago, Tribal Areas Electricity Supply Company (TESCO) authorities visited the grid station being installed at the facility. On December 31, the KP chief minister Mehmood Khan while directing for early completion of facilities at the SEZ also asked the officials to start shifting marble plants on Warsak Road and scattered plants in Mohmand districts to the new facility. He was informed that of the 290 plots, 106 had been leased out already while the Warsak Road plants would be accommodated in the rest of the plots.