KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has announced that the Thar coal mine and coal-fired power plants would be completed four months ahead of their schedule.
“This is the success story of the project in which people were reluctant to believe in and now we are going to inject the first electron in the national grid in February,” he said.
He said this while reviewing the progress of Thar coal mining and power plant projects at Islamkot on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Provincial Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, CM Advisor Murtaza Wahab, Planning and Development (P&D) Chairman Mohammad Waseem, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) Board Chairman Khursheed Jamali, Thar Foundation chief executive officer (CEO) Abul Fazal Rizvi, all the elected representatives from Thar as well as senior officers of SECMC.
Shah said that the royalties of the Thar coal and power project would be around Rs1.8 billion which would only be spent on the development of Thar and its people.
The chief minister was told that there was an overall 94 per cent progress of mining work as against 88 per cent planned till the first week of December 2018. Out of 112 billion cubic meters, 106 overburden has been removed and the current depth of the mines was 154 meters which the chief minister personally visited and examined the coal excavated from the mine.
He took a piece of coal in his hands and said that it was black gold for which “our Shaheed Rani [Benazir Bhutto] had started the project but that project could not see the light of the day and now we have completed her mission,” he said.
To a question, the chief minister was told that 44 M m3 groundwater has been discharged into the Gorano pond and more than 23 million safe man-hours have been completed without lost workday injury (LWI).
It was pointed out that total 3584 manpower was working on the mine, of them 3329 were Pakistanis, including 2364 Tharis. The project is four months ahead of its schedule and the cost of the project is $845mn against which a saving of $175 million has been made, therefore total cost comes to $670m, this shows 21 per cent saving.
Power Plant: The chief minister was told that the project of 660 MW coal energy has achieved 96 per cent progress and was ahead of four months of its schedule.
The number of manpower engaged at the power project is 3286 with 1070 Tharis, 1479 Chinese and 744 other Pakistanis. The chief minister was told that engineering reviews and quality inspections of the project have been completed by globally renowned experts. The transition from construction to commissioning phase has successfully been made. To a question, the chief minister was told that commissioning and operation and maintenance (O&M) contractors have been mobilized to the site and were participating in commissioning activities. The experienced Chinese manpower has been shortlisted from the similar power plants in China so that the project could be made functional. The chief minister was told that 70 Pakistanis have received O&M training in China and have returned to take part in commissioning of the complex. The project would produce the first electron in the second week of February 2019.
The relay room and transmission line, evaporation ponds, boiler and 180 meters tall Chimney have been constructed and are ready for testing.
After a briefing of the coal and power projects, the CM handed over a cheque of Rs50 million to CEO Thar Foundation to provide fodder to 20,000 families of Islamkot taluka for their cattle. “We are committed with the people of Thar and we will not only fulfil the commitments we have made so far with the people of Thar but much more than the commitments would give to the people of Thar,” he said and added that he was working out a plan to spend a major portion of royalty of coal and power projects on development of Thar and social uplift of its people.
Addressing the people of Thar and their elected representatives, the chief minister said that the PPP government in Sindh has spent Rs70 billion on the development infrastructure, airport and other projects started in Thar.
The chief minister visited a kitchen garden pilot project at Tharerio Halepoto village. In the garden, a small fish pond and vegetables were being grown to meet the need of two to three families. The chief minister said that such projects should be encouraged so that people of Thar could enjoy health vegetables and fish.
Hospital: The chief minister said that the Thar Foundation, an organization of the Sindh government and Engro, was constructing a hospital of 250 beds at a cost of Rs2 billion against which Sindh government has already released Rs50 million. He added that the first block of 82 beds would be made functional in February 2019.
New Village: Mr Shah said that a new village, New Senhri Goth for the displaced people of Thar Block-II have been established where 172 families would be shifted by December 20. “We have not only provided them [displaced people] well designed 1100-square meter houses with all facilities such as kitchen, toilet and corridor but have given them jobs, compensation of their houses [turned into mine], education and health facilities at their new village.
The chief minister also told the people present in the briefing that Thar Foundation was establishing 25 schools on which work was going on a fast track.
He also said that the foundation has sent a batch of 90 children to do a three-year Diploma of Associate Engineering and overall 500 youth would be imparted such a skilled education.
The chief minister during his visit to Thar visited PPHI hospital and DHQ hospital Mithi. He visited each and every ward, including nursery and inquired about the health of the admitted patients.
Talking to media, CM Shah said that the death of infants was a social issue. “Most of these infants were delivered at home and their parents only brought them to a hospital when their condition worsened,” he said while adding that children delivered at hospitals have nominal death ratio.
To a question, he said that his government was going to launch a Health Information System (HIS) under which all the pregnant women would be registered. A detailed record right from conceiving a child to delivery would be kept so that mothers could be provided with proper guidance and support.