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All thermal plants to run on Thar coal: PM

The govt has decided that only Thar coal would be used for coal-based power generation and construction of new power projects will be designed on same specifications.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has decided that only Thar coal would be used for coal-based power generation in the future and all conversions of existing and construction of new power projects would be designed on Thar coal specifications.

The landmark policy decision was taken by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, while chairing a meeting of the Thar Coal and Energy Board at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat here on Wednesday.

The meeting was informed that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and the Engro Corporation were working on an integrated coal mine and a power project with an estimated cost of 1.3 billion dollars at Block 2 of Thar coal project for mining of 6.5 million tons of coal per annum and a power plant of 1200 MW.

The prime minister also decided in principle to provide a sovereign guarantee to SECMC, a joint venture of the Sindh government and Engro Power, and directed the finance ministry to arrange the same.

Prime Minister Ashraf said that in the present financial situation, there was little space for providing sovereign guarantees. However, this is a strategic decision which has to be taken for meeting the growing energy requirements of the country, he stressed.

The Sindh government had requested the federal government that the conversion of the existing 800 MW and new 600 MW power plants at Jamshoro be designed on Thar Coal specifications.

The prime minister directed the ministry of water and power to sign within a week a Coal Off-Take agreement between the GENCO and the SECMC for the Asian Development Bank financed conversion of the existing 800 MW and new 600 MW thermal power projects at Jamshoro.

“Today we have laid the foundation of an energy policy, which is based on our indigenous resources and will lead to savings of huge foreign exchange presently being spent on the import of fossil fuels to run our thermal power plants,” said the prime minister.

The policy decision will ensure energy security that has been eluding us for such a long time, added the prime minister.

The Thar coal field is estimated to have reserves of 175 billion tons, 68 times higher than Pakistan’s total gas reserves.

Those who attended the meeting included Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, PM’s Advisor on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain, and others.

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Comments (24) Closed

Oct 03, 2012 08:32pm
Hope these plan will materialize soon and general public will see the benefits.
Oct 03, 2012 07:11pm
@ Anwar They were waiting for Pakistan to reach 2012 T-20 world cup
Oct 03, 2012 08:07pm
hmmm..election winning preparations..we all know very well that none of these officials think for pakistan.
Dr Satpal Jabbal
Oct 03, 2012 06:35pm
We will see if this works.
Cyrus Howell
Oct 03, 2012 06:27pm
It is time to collect the past due electric bills. Pass a law to seize property (by due process). Entities can go to a bank and borrow money to pay past due bills. Very patriotic not paying the bills at this stage of Pakistan's development. Is it a nation of crooks and deadbeats? The government has the power to collect this debt and provide electricity. Time to stop stalling.
Anwar Amjad
Oct 03, 2012 06:21pm
A very good move and perhaps the only solution to energy crisis in Pakistan. It should have been done long ago.
Oct 03, 2012 10:36pm
Well said. What has the govrnment been doing for the last four & a half years of its rule!! Hope it does not come out to be an election stunt - nice words but no action???
Oct 03, 2012 10:30pm
They just woke up.
Oct 03, 2012 09:01pm
Better late than never. Its a good decision and should be given due priority.
Oct 03, 2012 08:28pm
oh you dont know its election time baby..... nation need energy lolipop...
Oct 04, 2012 02:16am
The government has done nothing to implement the policy. They will make another such decision in a few months. Why dignify such subterfuge with a headline?
Oct 03, 2012 01:54pm
No matter where the deposits are, these are in Pakistan and only these should be utilized so the producer of the power and the province benefits. Good decision.
Anwar Hasnat
Oct 03, 2012 03:34pm
Why did the government wait for five years to come to this conclusion!
Oct 04, 2012 05:37am
Just lip service only. We need upright leadership
Oct 03, 2012 05:56pm
Good luck to all.
Syed Ahmed
Oct 03, 2012 05:38pm
Thanks to Almigty Allah that sense has prevailed.
Nonviolent Pacifist
Oct 03, 2012 05:30pm
The Government should instead concentrate on generating hydroelectric power which is cheaper and leaves much less of a carbon (ecological) footprint. Pakistan is also blessed with many rivers and rapids, so let take advantage of these natural bounties.
Oct 03, 2012 05:27pm
Finally the right step towards the right direction if implemented honestly, sincerely and without any further delay (as too much time has already been wasted due to the vested interests of the politicians) in future by all the governments to come.
Imraan Mehmood
Oct 03, 2012 05:06pm
not 'conclusion' but 'decision'
Oct 03, 2012 03:52pm
Thank Almighty Allah that for once we hope a government has taken a bold policy decision based upon the national interests of the nation, even if it has taken five years.
Syed rizvi
Oct 03, 2012 03:38pm
A very good landmark and historic devidion,it will make pakistan Strong rich and not reliable on foreign fuel resources.
Oct 03, 2012 01:45pm
Truly a land mark decision!
M R Khawaja
Oct 03, 2012 03:27pm
I do not see name of Dr Samar Mubarek who has been working on Thar Coal Project has he been side lined by special interest group like so many other Good Honest and Competent People.
M. Asghar
Oct 03, 2012 03:04pm
This merry-go-round of almost daily decisions does not change the energy-problem on the ground , because these never go beyond issuing ordres to those who have never done anything effective.