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QUETTA: Balochistan Environment Secretary Ghulam Muhammad Sabir has said that provincial authorities have issued a no-objection certificate for a 300MW coal-based power plant in Gwadar on the condition that electricity from the plant will be supplied free of charge to household consumers of the area.

He was speaking at a public hearing held in the provincial capital to discuss the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the new 300MW imported coal-based power plant in Gwadar.

The hearing was attended, among others, by Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (Bepa) director general retired Captain Muhammad Tariq, representatives of the CIHC Pak Power Company Ltd, experts of developmental and environmental affairs, NGOs and chairman of the municipal committee of Gwadar district.

A detailed review of the EIA report was presented by a consultant of the project, Environmental Management Consultants (EMC) Pakistan.

Project’s impact on environment discussed

EMC Pakistan chief Syed Nadeem Arif said that the plant was financed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The project, he said, would contribute to development of infrastructure in the coastal areas of Gwadar and Makran.

Senior environmentalist Saqib Ejaz Hussain, while shedding light on both positive and negative aspects of the project, said it had been designed with efficient technology, adding that latest gadgets would be installed to control air and water pollution.

The seawater, he said, would help keep the plant cool, adding that an 800-metre-long pipeline would be built in the seabed for the purpose. The warm wastewater of the plant would be discharged into the sea via another 600-metre pipeline, he said, adding that gadgets would be installed after every 100 metres to maintain the temperature of seawater to ensure that it did not harm marine life. The project will also provide free medical and educational services to the people of nearby villages and a special centre will be established to impart training to locals to fill job vacancies.

The chief executive officer of CICH Pak Power Company, Mr Xu, assured the audience that the project would be built in accordance with international, national and provincial environmental standards and regulations. It would go a long way in developing Gwadar, he said.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2018