KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday issued directives to departments concerned and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) to jointly formulate a plan to launch a compensation scheme for the affectees of Gorano waste-water reservoir.

“The Sindh government will release a grant of Rs900 million to Thar Foundation for community development. Besides, the royalty generated from mining and power generation will also be spent on social uplift in Thar,” he said.

He said the foundation, which was formally approved by him at a meeting on Thar coal projects at the CM House, would work in different areas such as education, health, human resource development, livelihood, infrastructure, drinking water, women empowerment, disaster management, culture and heritage and youth development.

The chief minister said that with the initiation of mining and power projects, the landscape of Thar had dramatically transformed from one of the most impoverished areas of the country into a landmark of economic development and prosperity.

He said that he was keen to see people of Thar reaping fruits of huge investment the Sindh government and private partners had made in Thar and directed SECMC chief executive officer Shamsuddin Ahmad Shaikh to start work on development and construction of schools, hospitals, reverse osmosis plants and upgrade of traditional villages into model villages.

He said that Islamkot taluka should be turned into a model taluka for development works. “Let us start from reopening closed schools and launching new schools, developing model villages with two-room houses with a veranda and a proper kitchen and toilets,” he said and added that time had come to introduce Thar people to modern way of living.

The chief minister directed public health engineering department and Sindh Coal Authority to identify the RO plants which were either working below their capacity or had developed faults and hand them over to Thar Foundation to make them functional.

“The foundation would have a master plan for development of social sector,” he said.

The chief minister was informed that the construction of Islamkot airport had been completed and the SECMC had also finished with the construction of a hospital and out of nine, two school buildings were ready to be inaugurated in the second week of April.

Earlier, the meeting was told that since April 2016, Thar coal price had increased merely by 3.58 per cent compared to an increase of more than 65pc for imported fuels.

The meeting was attended by chief secretary Rizwan Memon, planning and development chairman Mohammad Waseem, principal secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, secretary of education Iqbal Durrani, secretary of energy Agha Wasif, SECMC CEO Shams­uddin Shaikh, Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Khan and others.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018