The National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology has requested the concerned authorities to immediately release funds for Thar coal gasification project. – Photo by Hussain Afzal / Dawn.com

KARACHI: National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology has asked the federal and provincial governments to provide the allocated funds to Thar coal gasification project to speed up work on the power generation project.

Chairman of the committee Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada, while speaking at the presentations of Thar coal and gasification projects here Saturday, said that any delay in Thar coal and gasification trial and pilot projects will further delay the addition of much needed electricity to country's economy and industrial sector.

Representatives of Sindh Coal Authority, project coordinator Engro, Oracle Coalfield UK, PCSIR and coal gasification project gave presentations to the committee on the progress of their projects.

He said that both federal government and Sindh government should provide the committed share of the allocated funds for these projects. If you want to run the projects you need to fulfil your obligations and provide the necessary support to the on-going projects in Thar coal field.

He also asked the project runners to take media to the site to show the potential for coal gasification and power generation in Thar.

He also urged the federal Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali to provide support and funds to Pakistan Council of Industrial and Scientific Research (PCSIR) so that it can upgrade its laboratory test project of coal gasification to a pilot project and then lead to commercial production.

“You need to support them as the entire nation is now looking toward Thar coal projects as the only solution to existing power crisis”, he added.

Dr Khanzada noted that even the allocations for these projects were not sufficient. He asked PCSIR to hold a meeting next week at its premises to demonstrate the trial production of gas and electricity based on Thar coal.

Other members of the committee Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Mrs Shamsul Sattar Bachani, Justice (rtd) Fakhar-un-Nisa Khoker, Zafar Beg Bhittani and Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk in their remarks also supported the projects and urged the government to extend wholehearted support to scientists so that Thar coal can be utilized for power generation.

The Minister Mir Changez Jamali assured the NA committee for removing all the difficulties hindering the projects and said all possible support will be provided to coal gasification projects and also to power generation projects under public-private partnership.

Earlier, Specialist Science and Technology of Planning Commission, Dr M Ashraf Moten in his presentation said that coal has to be declared as a matter of national security and strategic importance to attract investment from donors and multilateral institutions.

He said that total investment requirement for 100 megawatts of electricity through underground coal gasification is $ 115.6 million and added that only 7.48 million have been received so far.

Dr Moten said that 36 holes have been drilled and stuffed through 12” and 24 “ diameters carbon steel piping and cemented and tested for gasification.

Director General PCSIR said that the conversion of coal into diesel will cost only Rs 18 to 19 per litre and cost of power generation from coal gasification will is also lower and sustainable.

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