ISLAMKOT: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will perform the formal inauguration of the first-ever Thar coal power generation plant on Wednesday.
The PPP chairman will be accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, his cabinet colleagues, senior government officials and diplomats of various countries, including China. The inauguration ceremony will be performed in Islamkot area where the coal mine of Thar block-II and the power plant are located.
The federal government is likely to be represented on the occasion by Federal Power Minister Omer Ayub Khan.
The Thar coal power plant has a power generation capacity of 660 megawatts and consists of two power generation units of 330 MW capacity each. The power plant is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as China actively extended financial, technical, and manpower support to complete the project.
Briefing the newsmen who visited sites of the coal mine and the power plant in Islamkot, Project Manager Faisal Shafiq said that one of the power generation units had already been synchronised with the national grid while the synchronisation of the second unit would commence from Wednesday.
The project director told the media persons that the formal commercial operation of the power plant would commence from June this year and subsequently the full capacity of the power plant would be supplied to the national grid.
Faisal said that it was an arduous and nerve-testing job for all the stakeholders of the project, who had given their best efforts, finances, and resources during the last one decade to materialise the power project, which is based on indigenously available coal reserves.
He also said that all the environmental concerns regarding the power project had been well allayed as the project had been built well in accordance with the standards set by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.
He further said that the power project would consume 12,000 tonnes of coal per day extracted from the coal mine of Thar block-II once the project would achieve its full capacity. He said that around 4,000-strong labour force had been used for the construction of power plant as around 2,500 labourers were indigenous as they all belonged to the nearby Thar area. Faisal said that up to 70 engineers working for the power project belonged to Thar.
He said that construction of the power plant had been completed in 36 months. He said that connectivity of the power plant with the transmission line to connect it with the national grid had been completed as tests and trials to check evacuation of electricity had been done.
The project director said that Sindh government, Engro Corporation, and other partners of the Thar coal power project had been working on an extensive plan to properly train the local youth to impart them requisite technical expertise so that they could work for the project with proper qualification. He said that no major untoward incident or eventuality occurred during the construction phase.