KARACHI: A Chinese power company has started mining in Thar Block-1 to develop mine and installation of a coal-fired power plant to generate 1,320 megawatts of electricity.

The families that will be displaced with the development activities in Thar will be shifted to a modern colony to be built by the Chinese company.

Besides the Chinese company, Shanghai Electric, National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has also requested the Sindh government to provide them 100 acres of land at Jhimpir for construction of a grid station for evacuation of power generated from wind corridor.

This emerged on Tuesday during a meeting held at CM House.

The meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, was attended by Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh among other officials.

Minister Shaikh said around 600 families would be displaced with the coal mining and installation of the power plant.

The chief minister directed the energy minister to ask the Chinese company to construct a residential colony for affected families.

Kuwaiti company plans waste-to-energy project at Dhabeji

“The colony of the affected villagers be equipped with all civic facilities, including school, park, mosque, temple, playground, and small market,” he said and added that new settlement would bring those children to school who had never been there.

He cited the example of Suneri Dars village constructed by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) for the displaced people of Block-I where their model village school was “flourishing”.

The CM approved appointment of the energy minister as chairman of the SECMC and also appointed him as chairman of the Thar Foundation to ensure corporate social responsibility.

Jhimpir grid station

The energy minister told the chief minister that the NTDC had requested the provincial government to provide them 100 acres of land at Jhimpir for construction of a grid station for evacuation of power generated from the wind corridor.

Energy secretary Musadiq Khan said that the provincial government had given licence to 10 companies to install their wind energy plants. “The issue is how to evacuate their power, therefore installation of a grid station is very necessary.”

The chief minister approved in principle the plan for provision of 100-acres land to the NTDC for grid station and directed officials to seek report from DC Thatta and DC Jamshoro for making 100 acres of land available to the NTDC.

Electricity from waste

Imtiaz Shaikh told the chief minister that a Kuwaiti company had applied for installation of waste-energy project at Dhabeji.

The project proposal was sent to the chief minister, which he had approved. Now, they were applying for tariff with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

Mr Shah directed the minister to pursue their request in Nepra so that the dream of generating energy from the trash/waste of Karachi could be realised.

Gasification

The chief minister also directed the provincial energy department to reconcile with the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to start its impending village gasification for which the Sindh government had already paid the demand note.

He recalled that the provincial government had paid Rs6.5 billion for village gasification. “Out of Rs6.5bn, Rs1.5bn meant for village gasification is still with the SSGC for providing gas to 58 villages in different districts,” he said and directed the energy minister to hold a meeting with the SSGC and get the gasification work started.

Electricity bills

The CM directed the finance and energy departments to work out a plan so that electricity bills of DMCs, District Council of Karachi and water board could be cleared in time.

“I have noticed that the procedure for releasing payment for power bills to local bodies and then to the utility company, KE, takes time and ... penalty is imposed for late payment,” he said and added that he wanted fiscal discipline for power bills.

Mr Shah said that as per order of the Supreme Court Rs580 million electricity bills of KMC up to March 2019 were paid by the provincial government and from April 2019 the KMC has to pay its bills on its own.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019