SIALKOT, July 7: All chambers of commerce and industry in Punjab have decided to formulate a joint ‘businessmen consortium’ for investing in the Thar Coal project besides lending support to scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand to help him complete all projects of alternative and cheap energy.
Heads of chambers gathered here at a meeting hosted by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Saturday and pledged to support the scientist, who was also present on the occasion.
SCCI President Naeem Anwar told newsmen after a marathon meeting that all the chambers in Punjab would soon formulate Punjab Business Consortium to invest in the Thar Coal Project to produce cheaper gas, electricity, diesel, methanol and fertilizers.
Addressing the meeting earlier, Dr Mubarakmand (member Science and Technology, Planning Commission of Pakistan) said that the country was in dire need of developing resources of alternative energy to get rid of the energy crisis.
He asked the Punjab business community to come forward and invest in the Thar Coal, saying that there were bright opportunities for private sector in this project. He alleged that Thar Coal Energy Board was adopting delaying tactics and creating hurdles in the way of private investment in this project.
Dr Mubarakmand disclosed that the project of generating 100 megawatts from Thar Coal Project had been lying incomplete due to paucity of funds a project.
He also gave a briefing to the presidents of Punjab chambers on the use of alternative resources of energy.
A joint declaration of the meeting urged the federal government to release funds for the Thar Coal Power Project, ensure equal distribution of electricity and gas among all the federating units, exempt the industry of all additional taxes and levies on utility bills till the end of power loadshedding. They extended full support to the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012.
The meeting termed political unrest and power outages extremely harmful for trade. They also urged the government to announce long term export and trade policies by taking the business community into confidence.
The SCCI president urged the government to introduce skill development programme for Sialkot industries with a view to promoting country's value-added sector, besides exploring new international markets.
The meeting was attended by Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Irfan Qaisar Sheikh, Muhammad Muzzamal of Faisalabad chamber, Javaid Akhtar Bhatti of Rawalpindi chamber, Malik Zaheerul Haq of Gujranwala chamber, Mirza Muhammad Mushtaq of Gujrat chamber, Mazhar Ahmed Malik of Sargodha chamber, Tariq Mehmood of Attock chamber, Sahibzada Abdul Quddus of Chakwal chamber, Ms Kokab Parveen, president of Central & North Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mughees Ahmad of Jhang chamber, Chaudhary Shafqat Rasool of Okara chamber, Waseem Akhtar of Sahiwal chamber, Amjad Nazir Butt of Sheikhupura chamber and Sheikh Abdul Waheed Sandal of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.