KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad on Thursday said that Thar coal power project was top priority of the government as its commissioning would help making the country self-sufficient in its energy requirement and subsequently turn it into a stable economy.“The provincial government has approached the federal government seeking approval of the installation of the power transmission lines network from Thar coal field to the national grid at a cost of Rs21 billion,” said Dr Ibad, while presiding over a meeting held at the Governor's House to review progress on the Thar coal power project.
The power transmission lines network would be completed in two phases by June 2014, he added.At an initial stage, the project would start producing around 2,400 megawatts within three years. It was expected that the project would start generating 25,000 MWs by the year 2029, he said.
Earlier, Sindh Coal and Energy Development Secretary Mohammad Yunus Dagha briefed participants in the meeting about the progress on the project.
He said that there were 186 billion tonnes of coal reserves in Sindh alone and 175 billion tonnes of them were discovered in Thar which is said to have the seventh largest reserves of coal in the world.
Giving details of the reserves discovered in other provinces, Mr Dagha said that there were 235 million tonnes of coal reserves in Punjab, 217 million tonnes in Balochistan, 90 million tonnes in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and in nine million tonnes in Azad Kashmir.
About progress on the development of infrastructure in the project area, the participants were informed that a road network was being led at the project site at a cost of Rs9.6 billion which would be completed by December 2012. While work on a rescue station and three reverse osmosis plants had already been completed, effluent disposal system and the Thar Airport would be established soon.
He added that work on a water project to clean the left bank outfall drain (LBOD) and laid its line up to the Thar coal was also under way at a cost of Rs3.5 billion.
Recalling the incentives being given to investors in the Thar coal project area, he said that the government had declared Thar Coal Field as a special economic zone where profit rate was 20 per cent on dollars. He said the import of the machinery and other equipment required for coal mining as well as vehicles for the use on the site were exempt from customs duty.
Besides, he said, withholding tax, excise duty and other levies would not be collected for a period of 30 years.