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Thar project is nation’s future, says Raja

Published Aug 09, 2012 08:05pm

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Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visiting Control Room of Thar Coal Project at Tharparkar. - Online Photo

THARPARKAR: Completion of the Thar coal power project will bring about a revolution not only in the life of locals but also ensure prosperity in Sindh and the entire country, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said at a public meeting here on Thursday.

Earlier he visited the test burn site of the pilot project undertaken by nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand. “The coal reserve in one block alone can produce two billion barrels of diesel,” the prime minister said.

He said three companies — Global Mining China, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and Oracle Coalfields UK — were working on three other blocks.

The prime minister recalled that Benazir Bhutto had initiated this project in 1994, but successive governments ignored it.

“Credit goes to President Zardari for revival of the project,” Raja Ashraf added.

Summing up the post-2008 general election situation, he again praised President Zardari for taking all parties along and cobbling together a coalition government. “PPP needs no lessons on politics and democracy as examples of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto are before us. Every member of the party has suffered and given sacrifices in the struggle for democracy,” Raja Ashraf said.

“For us there is no other way but to pursue the path of democracy which comes through elections and holding free, fair and transparent elections is the right of people.”

The prime minister said the People’s Party believed in fair and transparent election because the nation had always voted for PPP despite character-assassination of its leadership.

“Now is the time to tolerate each other and carry forward the message of love and respect as hatred has not given us anything.”

Raja Pervez Ashraf announced a grant of Rs 200 million for electrification of villages and asked the Sindh government to set up information technology centres in every town.

QAIM ON JUDICIARY: Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah thanked Dr Mubarakmand for working on the Thar pilot project and for seeing to it that 83 per cent of jobs went to locals.

Mr Shah made a veiled criticism of the judiciary, saying it did not realise that “the prime minister is the elected representative of 180 million people”.

“The judiciary’s decisions in the past were regrettable and again efforts are being made to harm democracy.”

Mr Shah said democracy should not be derailed as it was vital to the country’s progress.

Provincial Information Minister Sherjeel Memon, Senator Gul Mohammad Lot and MNA Dr Mahesh Mallani also spoke on the occasion.

Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas highlighted the potential of Thar coal in battling the energy crisis.

Ejaz Ahmad, Secretary of the Coal & Energy Department, gave a briefing about the companies which were developing three blocks in Thar coal field.

The project will generate 2100 megawatt of electricity.

Dr Mubarakmand said his team had demonstrated that coal gassification can be used for power generation and other uses like production of diesel, methanol and urea.

In reply to a question by the prime minister, Dr Mubarakmand said one ton of coal produced one megawatt of electricity per hour. The average cost of power from UCG is two to three cents per unit while for a 100mw project its cost is expected to be four to five cents per unit.

Capital expenditure on a UCG power station inclusive of gassifiers is $ 1.2 per wt, the lowest for any production plant.

Dr Mubarakmand said two German scientists had developed a process to convert coal gas into diesel or methanol. This process was now being used for commercial purposes, recalling that a South African company was producing 160,000 barrels of diesel per day at an average price of $ 30 per barrel.

Dr Mubarakmand, addressing apprehensions expressed by MNA Dr Khatumal Jeevan, said there was neither any danger of water contamination from gasification nor of environmental pollution.