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Thar Coal a ‘game-changer’ for Pakistan, says Murad

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THARPARKAR: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while giving a detailed presentation to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif at the mine pit, Coalfield Block-II, said that Thar Coal was a game changer for Pakistan as it could yield exponential economic dividends of $4 billion annually alone from the export of 70 MTPA coal, apart from producing power, syngas for fertilizer in the country. 

“Therefore, we, the provincial and the federal governments, have to work together to tap its resources in the entirety to usher in a new vista of development and prosperity in the country.” The presentation was attended by Foreign Minister and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Federal Ministers- Ahsan Iqbal, Musadiq Malik, Khurram Dastagir, Provincial Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, chairman HUBCO, CEO SECMC Amir Iqbal and others.

Energy Future: Quoting the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP), the chief minister said that Thar Coal has 175 billion tons of coal reserves worth $29 trillion or more than the reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iranian Oil reserves. He added that the entire coalfield has been divided into 13 blocks, of which Sindh Engro Coal Mine Company (SECMC) was working in Block-II, a reservoir of two billion tons of coal, and SSRL was engaged in Block-I, a reservoir of five billion tons.  PPP Model: Tracing the history of Thar Coal, Mr. Shah said that it was discovered by GSP in 1991. “Moving on the fast track for an early harvest of the black gold, Sindh govt, and Engro Energy Ltd entered a Joint Venture Agreement in 2009, and in 2014 both Mine and Power Projects were included as China and Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)- related projects,” he said and in 2015 the federal government issued Sovereign Guarantee for the Thar Coal Project and first Tariff Determination was issued for Thar Coal and Power Plants.  

Murad Ali Shah proudly said that in 2019 3.8 Mtpa Mine and 600 MW Mine Mouth Power Plant was commissioned in 2019 and production capacity was expanded to15.4 Mtpa powering 2640 MW in 2022.  Fed & Sindh govts: The CM acknowledged the federal government’s support and said that it has been instrumental in enabling the Thar Coal and Power Project. He recalled that in January 2014 the then-prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and President Asif Zardari had jointly performed a ground-breaking ceremony for the Thar Coal and Power projects.  

“A $700 million Sovereign Guarantee was provided by the federal government backstopped by the Sindh government,” the CM said and added that 55 percent Equity was injected by the Sindh government in SECMC and incurred $700 million on development of infrastructure in Thar.  Unparalleled Economic Dividends: Murad Ali Shah said that Thar Coal has created unparalleled economic dividends for Pakistan. “Approximately 12.5 million tons of coal unearthed and about 12,500 GWh added to the national grid since the inception of the coal and power projects,” Mr. Shah said proudly and added thereby saving forex of $2 billion per year for the country at the current price of $700 million by the end of 2022.   

According to the CM, with the efforts of the Sindh government a foundation of $7.5 bn investment, including $5.1 billion in power and $1.8 billion in Mines under CPEC has been laid.  Murad Ali Shah disclosed that Thar Coal was currently the cheapest source of power. Quoting the current spot price as per the last notified by NEPRA rates, based on Thar coal Phase-II coal price, Murad Shah said: power generation against the imported coal costs Rs37 per kWh, LNG Rs24, and Thar cots coal Rs17 per kWh. “This shows that Thar coal is the cheapest source of power generation,” he said. 

Exponential Economic dividends: The chief minister said that Thar Coal could yield exponential economic dividends by2030. He added that Thar Coal Block-1 was going to unearth 7.8 Mtpa (20 MPTA) for the generation of 1320 MW by December 2022 and would save $1.2 billion forex annually.  He added that the conversion of Sahiwal, Port Qassim, and CPHGC plants to Thar Coal, 926 MTPA, would save the country $1.5 billion annual forex. Mr. Shah said that three cement plants – Fatima, Bestway, and Pioneer- were interested in utilizing Thar coal for which tests have been successfully conducted and would save $2 billion in foreign exchange for the country annually.   He added that coal gasification could be used to make Syngas (SNG) for fertilizers and would save $3 billion in foreign exchange if 60 MPTA were used. On top of it, the export of 70 MPTA lignite coal to regional countries would save/fetch $4 billion annually.

Social initiatives: The chief minister told the prime minister that major social initiatives have been undertaken in Thar.  He added that mine and IPPs in Block-II have pledged 2 percent and 1 percent of their profit respectively to the Thar foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) over the life of their project. Mr. Shah said that 60 percent or 3,303 of the total employment of Block-II were Tharis and they have been given Rs75 million in technical scholarships.  He added that 23 schools have been established where over 4,061 students, including over 1000 girl students, were receiving education. A 120-bed state-of-the-art hospital has been established under CSR, with an OPD of 150 to 2000 patients at Marvi Clinic daily.   The CM told the PM that 52 Thari women who were trained to drive dump trucks were successfully and proudly doing their job. He added that 11 Thari women were working as Operators of RO plants. “We have installed 17 RO plants which are supplying clean water to 13 villages,” he said.

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Sindh Solid Waste Management Board starts paying for garbage disposal in Pak Rupees

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KARACHI: With an aim to lower the financial burden on the provincial exchequer, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) started to pay private companies contracted for garbage disposal in the city in local currency instead of US dollars.

In this regard, Managing Director SSWMB Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah held a meeting with representatives of the private firms responsible for disposal of garbage in the city and apprised them of the decisions made by the steering committee of the Board.

The meeting deliberated upon the new plan of garbage disposal in the city before the expiry of the contracts made with private firms for solid waste management on district West, Malir, Keamari and East.

It was informed in the meeting that the negotiation with the contracting firms for payment in local currency had already been started.

The representatives of the private firms working in district Malir, West and Keamari informed the meeting that the verification of the staff and vehicles had been completed through a third party, while the verification was still going on in district East.

The managing-director directed the officials concerned to take steps to further improve efficiency in the new operational plan.

He asked the officials to make union committee-wise operational plan, containing complete details of daily waste volume, transport, machinery, staff and all resources to further improve the door-to-door waste collection services.

He also directed the private companies to pay the salaries of their respective staff on time. Mr Shah said that the operational plan should also include training of the staff, the strategy of separate collection of waste and date of people who picked garbage illegally.

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SBCA launches crackdown against illegal structures in Karachi

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KARACHI: The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has initiated massive crackdown against illegal constructions in different parts of the city, resulting in demolition of numerous buildings, marriage halls etc.

In a recent operation against illegal constructions in Karachi’s district Central, SBCA officials also came under firing, however, SBCA officials proceeded with the operation and demolished the fourth floor of the targeted building.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi has instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central to apprehend the culprits immediately and file a case against those involved in the firing.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi emphasized the need for fearless enforcement actions against illegal constructions and commended the SBCA staff for their dedication and honesty. He assured them of full support in facing any challenges during their duties.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi along with the demolition squad has bulldozed more than four buildings in areas including Essa Nagri, Paposh Nagar, and Gulberg. Moreover, over 13 illegal portions have been demolished in areas including Saddar Town, Jamshed Town, Gulberg, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi is personally supervising the crackdown against illegal constructions. The provincial government is committed to cleansing Karachi from all forms of illegal constructions, the DG adds.

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Sindh CS, British Deputy High Commissioner vow to strengthen bilateral relations, work for environmental challenges

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KARACHI: British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney met with Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday to discuss enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah briefed the British Deputy High Commissioner on the ongoing efforts in infrastructure development, water supply, sewage, and governance in Sindh. He stated that the Sindh government is actively working on improving water supply, sewage, and road infrastructure to accommodate Karachi’s growing population.

“Pakistan, although only contributing less than 1 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.” Said CS Sindh

He highlighted that Pakistan incurred a loss of $32 billion from the 2022 floods and is vulnerable to future environmental risks, underscoring the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate such disasters.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns about the adverse effects of environmental changes on the River Indus. Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah informed that the federal-level Living Indus project has been initiated, after consultation with environmental experts, stakeholders, and provincial governments. He expressed a desire for technical assistance from the British government to address environmental changes.

Syed Asif Hyder Shah also mentioned investment opportunities in energy, investment, and agriculture sectors in Sindh for British investors. British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney expressed interest in collaborating on the Living Indus project and other projects related to environment. Chief Secretary Sindh presented traditional souvenir to the British Deputy High Commissioner.

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