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Indian interest in coal

Published May 18, 2013 02:00am


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THIS refers to Ashfaq Bokhari’s report entitled, “coal lures Indian firm” (Economic and Business Review, May 13) which states that due to proximity to Rajasthan, the Indian coal mining firm, Coal India, is willing to help Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) to extract coal deposits in the Thar area of Sindh.

The report also mentions that Tata Powers, Bharat Heavy Electricals and Arcolaor Mittal are also interested in extracting Thar coal.

Besides Indian firms, Australia, Japan and China are also interested in extracting Thar coal. There is worldwide competition for coal because of rapid industrialisation and depleting oil and gas reserves. Because of physical proximity Indian bidders have an edge over their overseas competitors.

The Indian machinery and engineers can arrive on the site of extraction in a day from Rajasthan or Gujarat by train. The shipment of the machinery from Australia will take months. The Indian engineers will be on friendly terms with the Sindhi and Dhatki-speaking local people and they will give employment to them.

On the contrary, if the SECMC collaborates with the firms of some of Pakistan’s ‘strategic allies’, they will insist on having the 19th century-modelled extra-territorial rights.

They will cordon off pit areas, and throw away the local population. Even a labourer will come from their respective countries.

These days the BBC telecasts a documentary on the Indian Ocean in which it is shown how the Americans and others behave with the local population where they have taken a part of the territory on lease. I hope that these things do not happen in Sindh.

More significantly, Nawaz Sharif will have new openings with India, in general, and Indian Punjab in particular.

Professionally speaking, both of them share a common interest in business and finance, which they will use for the development of Punjabs.

Let the Sindh government also seize the opportunity of inviting Indian firms to extract coal deposits in Thar. Let us lay the foundation of the coal community between Sindh-Rajasthan-Gujarat, which will simultaneously be the Pakistan-India coal and electricity community. And then it may expand into an economic union.

If the membership of the European Union ended the centuries-old Franco-German rivalry, the India-Pakistan economic community, beginning with a coal and power community, can do the same.



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Comments (28) Closed

Akram May 19, 2013 09:12am
as an investor in the Thar coalfield area, I fail to see what India is going to bring to the party. The blocks already auctioned have been given on merit to foster a native Pakistani attempt to pursue UCG technology by it world leaders in Australia, the Chinese and others are using tried and tested truck and shovel methods. Oracle Coalfields is talking about setting up a Coal Briquetting process, so we can certainly sell excess coal to india's border areas, however as regards extraction india has no great track record that can help Pakistan pursue it goals in Thar. I am not against trade with india but simply stating this is not an area they can be of much help. What india is capable of, is already being done there.
noman May 19, 2013 02:38am
good opportunity and pakistan government must consider it and avail it as it will bring enormous opportunities of employments for local people and moreover it will effective in bringing country on its foot economically and reduce burden of foreign currency like dollar which pakistan pay in payment for fuel to run electricity in the country. we hope sindh government will do its utmost to get greater possibel benefit from this offer of our next door neighbor india.
P.Mishra May 18, 2013 01:25pm
Any body who thinks of ways to imrpve the cooperaoitn between two neighbourers should be congrachulated.
dhiraj dixit May 19, 2013 06:07pm
hehehehe hello mister akram do you know every 4th car in the world is made of mittal's steel...arcelor mittal is the world's biggest steel company they also has technology of coal mining if you want to consider it forcefully to your mind that because of it is indian company so it should not have technology than your wish.....indian private firms are world class tata is 100 billion daller company without technology it is not possible to any firm become 100 billion daller company ok...and they are also doing same work in Europe and US
Ahmer May 19, 2013 04:22am
Pakistan first. Coal is no less a national asset to Pakistan than oil is to Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pakistan should part with it only as much as those two countries will part with their crude.
John May 19, 2013 04:46am
If abductors and terrorists reach there too, that would be the end of any alliance. Pakistan first needs to create a friendly environment internally and then invite foreign companies. Those expecting large employment for local population are living in a fools paradise.
Rao May 19, 2013 04:54am
India may lag only by years, but Pakistan lags by centuries.
Irrfaan Akhtaar May 19, 2013 01:20am
It is pleasing to see new fresh thoughts are pouring from Pakistan in the right direction, hope this will benefit the people of the subcontinent for the better.
ram May 19, 2013 03:58am
and when?
JayRaman May 19, 2013 04:00am
Mr. Jamal Indian technology is second to none. Do not forget Arcoloar is owned by Mr. Mittal. Pakistan should not do this as a favor to India, In fact it will be more beneficial to Pakistan especially the people of Sind.
malole May 18, 2013 07:15pm
nice english
krishna May 18, 2013 06:11am
Good analysis and great insights.. But I wonder will it work for India Pakistan relations
Mubbashir Ali May 18, 2013 08:01am
The reason of interest in extracting Thar Coal is as follows; India is opting for more intermittent renewable energy production (solar n wind) (also has lowest production MARGINAL cost )to meet their energy demand. For that purpose, the big IPPs, who own thermal powerr plant, are looking for CHEAP COAL supply so that they can also compete in the future Liberalized POWER MARKET of INDIA. IT ALL DEPENDS HOW U C IT
andy (ON, Canada) May 19, 2013 03:35am
and you think chinese will come to HELP you. of course they dont care about their profit. they after all are your all weather friends!
HNY2013 May 18, 2013 10:18pm
n u think chinese are worried about you, n will keep ur interests above theirs....hhmmm...fodder for thought how naive 1 can be
Xeroxus May 18, 2013 09:31pm
More advanced equipment will mean less employment to local population.also,digging for coal is not rocket science at which again we do better than most of 'industrial' nations
HNY2013 May 18, 2013 10:16pm
Omar May 19, 2013 02:16am
A step in the right direction, finally!!
Iqbal May 19, 2013 04:10am
Why not Pakistan finance and build the mines of their own. They can hire the technology and experts and train local scientists/ engineers. Use local manpower and produce the coal. They can use locally and sell the end product to the country they get the maximum out of it. This way Pakistan will not be a victim of any international diplomacy of a country.
Mehtab Ali Shah May 18, 2013 07:35am
Thanks Mr. Sehgal
Jamal May 18, 2013 04:32pm
Pakistan should after her interest first. If it makes sense to do business with India then they should be given a chance. But technical capabilities should be considered as well. India still lags behind the industrial nations by years in mining and earth moving technologies
Salman M May 18, 2013 12:53pm
I think Pakistan should explore the coal reserves themselves or through Chinese partners. We can not take chance with trusting other countries after the experience we had with Gold mining in Balochistan. Other countries are only worried about their interests and they will use our reserves for their benefit only. We will just get a portion of what we own.
Mukul Sehgal May 18, 2013 06:24am
That really a great piece of news, it would be great to see a joint industrial venture of two countries. I think Pakistan can immensely benefit from the fact that India has world class technology and Industrial Giants like Tata, Birla, Reliance.....who have long experiences of handling bureaucratic hurdles in sub-continent. It could be a start of our own European Union.
Avtar May 18, 2013 12:13pm
Agree with the author. Trade seems to be the most convenient way to remove obstacles. Some of the Indian firms are of world class and they have bought world class companies including steel mills in Canada. Besides trade along the GT Road and Indo-Gangetic plain will also ease tensions with Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Most of all a very large market for all the countries in the sub-continent.
Kamal(Indian) May 18, 2013 10:50am
Superbly written article I think that business should go on between India and Pakistan.Pakistan should make use of Indian expertise and technology.Pakistan shouldn't lose such opportunities and its a great start to confidence building measures between two countries.Its time to for Pakistan should reduce its anger due to disputes and loses(Kashmir,Bangladesh, Sir-creek,Kargil) and fear(Hegemony) about India.
Mehtab Ali Shah May 18, 2013 07:37am
Thanks Mr.Krishna
Hell May 19, 2013 11:25am
Mr.jamal Coal India is the world's largest coal miner with revenue exceeding INR624.15 billion (FY 2012)..So technical capabilities shouldn't be a question at all for India.
HNY2013 May 19, 2013 08:19pm
Well 65 years post independence ...............what r u waiting for? I tell you the reason.....once u train the locals .........they gain exp n then migrate to other countries for greener pastures.