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



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.


Sindh Food Authority inks MoAs with ICCBS to ensure safe, hygienic, healthy food



KARACHI: Sindh Food Authority (SFA), Government of Sindh, has signed two Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi.

Sindh Food Authority signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Halal Certification Testing and Research Services (HCTRS) and the Industrial Analytical Center (IAC), ICCBS, University of Karachi.

This MoA aims to create a long-term framework of collaboration, cooperation, and development of a strong linkage between SFA and the research centers of the ICCBS for the testing of food products, which is in the interest of both institutions.

The SFA Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain and Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, the Director of the ICCBS, University of Karachi, signed the agreement in a meeting held at the HEJ, Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi on Friday evening.

Among others who attended the meeting were officials from SFA Prof. Dr. Asad Sayyed, Dr. Naveed Bhutto, Dr. Seema, Danish Arshad, and officials from ICCBS, including Prof. Dr. Abid Ali, Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf, Prof. Dr. Shabana Simjee, Prof. Dr. Asmat Salim, Dr. Imran Malik, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Jawaid Riaz, and others.

In his talk, the SFA Director-General praised the efforts made by the ICCBS administration to make this agreement possible in the interest of Sindh province. He also praised the industrial support and national services of the International Center (ICCBS).

He said the authority’s goal was to guarantee that the people of Sindh were fed in a safe, hygienic, and healthy manner by standards.

I want to have strong relations between SFA and the ICCBS, University of Karachi, he said, adding that SFA is trying to make all possible efforts to provide better food items to the people of Sindh.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Farzana Shaheen congratulated the officials of the SFA and ICCBS on the signing of the agreement. She hoped that this agreement would further strengthen the University’s HCTRS and IAC in the province.

Halal Testing Laboratory works to standardize and uplift the high-quality standard of nutrition & hygiene in Halal-certified food & other products by international export quality standards, she said.

Talking about IAC, the director said that IAC was doing their best to meet customer’s testing requirements with integrity, reliability, accuracy, precision of data, and timeliness of reports to achieve customer satisfaction and define specifications in compliance with ISO/IEC Laboratory Accreditation System and ISO 9001Quality Management System.

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DG Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar disburses certificates



KARACHI: Director General of the Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar Hussain distributed certificates among the participants at the HEJ, University of Karachi.

The certificates were given away to the participants of the highly prestigious Training Programme over Halal Food and Meat Detection Methods Training and Inter-laboratory Comparison for Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) countries (2022-SMIC-006) held at Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in hybrid format on October 23, 2023. The certificate were signed by the SMIIC General Secretary.  

Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf (Tamgha-e- Imtiaz) and Prof. Dr. Farzana Sheen attended the event.

The SMIIC (Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries) is an intergovernmental and one of the 17 affiliated organizations of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation). Its primary focus is on standardization and metrology technical elements.

Pakistani candidates participated through online sessions. The participants were selected through a detailed procedure and tests.

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Sindh Food Authority appoints Dr Rashida Irtifaq as its Ambassador



KARACHI: The Sindh Food Authority (SFA) is to appoint prominent educationist Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali as Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador.

In light of this significant appointment, a ceremony has been scheduled for January 9, 2024 at Jinnah Auditorium Dr AQ Khan Institute of Bio-Technology and Genetic Engineering, University of Karachi.

Caretaker Chief Minister Sindh Justice (R) Maqbool Baqar, Secretary Food, Government of Sindh and other dignitaries will attend the event to support the vision of the Sindh Food Authority.

Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali has been an integral part of Karachi University for the past fifty years where she not only fulfilled her teaching responsibilities but also played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Food Sciences and Technology.

At the age of 85, Dr Rashida Ali continues to serve in academia and the industry, demonstrating an unparalleled commitment to education.

While talking to Sindhnews, Sindh Food Authority’s Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain said that the food authority had recognized contributions of Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq by appointing her as the Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador, a position that reflects her expertise and dedication to the field.

The appointment of Dr Rashida Irtifaq will not only acknowledge her achievements but will also provide an opportunity to raise awareness among university students about the principles of health preservation related to food consumption.

In the event, Dr Rashida Irtifaq will also be presented with a shield by the Sindh Food Authority as a token of appreciation for her outstanding contributions, says Agha Fakhar.

The Sindh Food Authority was established in April 2018 under the SFA Act 2016 and the Authority has been established Under Section-3 (1) of the Act ibid with the mandate to provide safe, hygienic and health food to the people of Sindh, he adds.

The Authority is performing its functions accordingly as per the Sindh Food Authority Act 2016 but the major hurdle is the lack of awareness among general masses and food handlers at large, regarding the food safety and hygiene principles.

The authority’s mandate to provide safe, healthy and hygienic food to the people of Sindh can not only be achieved witht eh coercive measures but it requires general awareness campaign among the masses and food handlers and the issue demands the participation of all segments of the society, the DG concluded.

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