MITHI: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Power Shahzad Qasim on Thursday visited Thar coal power project’s block-II and received a briefing on the laying of a 143km-long railway track from the site to the nearest main railway line.
The aim of laying the new track is to facilitate transportation of coal to the lignite-fired power plants in Jamshoro and certain other areas.
The briefing was arranged by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) at the block-II site and attended by Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh, the firm’s CEO Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi and chairman of Engro Energy Limited Ahsan Zafar Syed.
PM’s aide Shahzad Qasim pledges to help get necessary approvals
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah reportedly provided his special aircraft to the PM’s aide, who took an aerial view of the project site and coal fields and Thar Foundation projects along with the energy minister.
Imtiaz Shaikh said that the Sindh government always remained willing to work with the federal government on any energy project.
This [collaboration] would not only help further harness indigenous energy resources but would also contribute to the efforts towards making Thar the “energy capital of Pakistan”.
Speaking at the briefing, Shahzad Qasim said that the federal government was committed to support the Thar coal project in every possible manner.
Endorsing SECMC’s proposal on the rail track, he advised the mining firm to formally submit it with the relevant federal authorities and held out the assurance that he would help initiate the process for its approval from the federal and Chinese stakeholders including the Pakistan Railways.
“I will take up the proposal [of the rail track] at federal government’s forums to get desired funding and the necessary approvals,” said Mr Qasim.
Giving his personal view, he described the proposal as “very much practicable” and said it could be executed within a short span of time.
Mr Qasim appeared impressed by the achievements of the public-private partnership between the Sindh government and SECMC and remarked that it was going to make Tharis’ dreams into a reality.
SECMC chief Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi said at the briefing that the firm was very close to producing electron from the 660MW twin power plant.
He also highlighted the vitality of the proposed rail track between the coal source and national electricity network.
Mr Qasim, along with Mr Shaikh and SECMC executives visited the mining sites, power plants and social welfare projects.
They also travelled in women-driven dumpers and visited the New Senhri Dars village, where a number of displaced Thari families are being resettled.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019