‘Thar Coal project, an initiative of national importance, facing challenges’

KARACHI: Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company’s (SECMC) said on Friday the Thar Coal project was an initiative of national importance and a multi-billion dollar project.

It is, therefore only pertinent that the project of this magnitude would be met with certain challenges. However, SECMC assures all stakeholders the firm, government of Sindh, government of Pakistan and all partners are committed to the development of this project. They are working tirelessly to make this project a reality and drive Pakistan on-track towards energy self-reliance.

In response to report on ‘Thar Coal project in the doldrums’ in Daily Times on May 23, 2014, SECMC categorically refute most of the claims the project was in state of inactivity and put forth the updates on the project.

Subsequent to the groundbreaking ceremony held earlier this year, SECMC has achieved substantial progress on the mining project during the year. Firm EPC bids have been obtained from four leading Chinese firms for the mining project and it was expected LOI would be issued by early June. 

Bids for power plant have also been received which were under evaluation.  National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has issued the upfront tariff for power plants for Thar, which would go in a long way towards expediting the establishment of power plants. 

National Transmission and Distribution Company has assured transmission line would be laid well in time for the power plants. The land acquisition process was in progress for initial 5,500 acres of land for which no resettlement is required. Notification for procurement of private land has been issued to the general public and the land has been handed over to SECMC by federal government. This clearly shows federal and Sindh governments are fully supporting this project.  

A public hearing of Environment and Social Impact Assessment was held last month to apprise the stakeholders on environmental and socio-economic impacts of the Power Plant project.

NOC for mining has already been issued. Finally on April 30, 2014 the works for 113 million cubic meter overburden removal in Thar Block-II took started. Furthermore, infrastructure requirements including water, transportation and power transmission line from Thar to Matiari were being pursued actively with relevant public sector agencies.

According to projects experts SECMC‘s clarification was not fully justify the issues, as a copy of letter which was written to the government of Sindh by CEO of SECMC was available with Daily Times which clearly contrasts the information provided by SECMC in its ‘clarification’.

 It is beyond the comprehension how the issues have been resolved or settled to be resolved in just 12 days as a letter to the Sindh government by SECMC was written on May 7, 2014.

All major issues relating to building the Project were being under process and this shows there is slow pace of work.

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