US Consul General Robert Silberstein visits Islamkot’s rural health centre in Tharparkar on Thursday.—Dawn
US Consul General Robert Silberstein visits Islamkot’s rural health centre in Tharparkar on Thursday.—Dawn

MITHI: The United States Consul General at Karachi Rob Silberstein on Thursday inaugurated an operating theatre facility and telemedicine services — ‘Ring-a-Doctor’ — at Islamkot’s rural health centre.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said the United States would continue to support such services for the people of Tharparkar as a goodwill gesture.

He observed that the people of Thar were not only simple, honest and peace-loving, but also patriotic citizens of the country.

The US envoy also visited community development project in Islamkot and appreciated the efforts being put in by the Thar Foundation in the taluka to meet UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) target. He expressed the hope that Tharparkar district would soon progress in all spheres of health, education and public services in terms of development.

During his visit to the Thar Coal project’s Block-II, he went round the mining, power generation and community projects sites.

MPA Qasim Siraj Soomro and District Council Chairman Dr Ghulam Haider Samejo accompanied the envoy.

He received a briefing on the projects from Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) vice president Syed Murtaza Azhar Rizvi and Thar Foundation general manager Naseer Memon.

Mr Rizvi informed him that mining and power generation project at Block-II had been completed three months ahead of the stipulated time and that too at 20 per cent less than the approved project cost.

Mr Silberstein met a group of women dumper truck drivers, who demonstrated their driving skills by operating vehicles carrying load of 60 tonnes of coal. He also met the women workers being trained for reverse osmosis (RO) plant operation. He was taken round the New Senhri Dars model village where 172 families dislocated due to the acquiring of lands for the coal project have been resettled.

Naseer Memon informed the US envoy that the village was provided with all basic facilities like school, dispensary, community centre and RO plant, as well as a mosque and a temple. She said households in the village were provided solar energy equipment.

The consul general visited the temple, Shiv Mandir, and met local community’s elders. He also met owner of a household and presented him a souvenir of the US embassy.

During the visit, Mr Silberstein planted a sapling in Green Park and was told that 750,000 indigenous trees were being planted in the area under the ‘Thar million tree’ initiative undertaken by the public-private partnership betw­een Sindh government and the SECMC.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019