HERAT CITY (PAN): Trader community leaders in western Herat province on Thursday warned of withdrawing their investments and moving abroad if the Cabinet did not reverse its decision granting permit to Ghazanfar Group to establish an oil refinery for processing semi-refined crude oil.
A large number of traders held a protest meeting in Herat City, the provincial capital, saying the Cabinet’s decision was not acceptable to them.
They said the refinery owned by the group lacked the capacity to properly process semi-refined oil, resulting in increased environmental hazards that threatened people’s health.
The businessmen alleged corruption had been committed in granting the permit to Ghazanfar Group, accusing the group of supplying adulterated and substandard petroleum products to the market at artificially lowered prices.
They accused the group of adulterating its imported oil with stabilizer substance and selling its products at prices far below the market average. They said the low quality petroleum products were damaging engines of vehicles and polluting the air.
But an official of Ghazanfar Group Sardar Bahadar rejected the allegations of traders as unfounded, saying all their activities were in accordance with the law and took place under close watch of the authorities concerned.
Bahadar said $32 million had been invested to establish a standard oil refinery at the Hairatan dry port. He said the government department concerned had thoroughly investigated the refinery’s capacity and the Cabinet praised it as standard, allowing it to store and refine 500,000 tonnes of oil.