Thar Coal: A game changer

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ADDRESSING a ceremony marking commercial operations of 330 megawatts coal power plant at Thar and Phase-II of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the cheaper energy from the Thar Coal would prove as a game changer for development of the country.

He said it could help the government save up to six billion dollars as the expenditure on the import of energy including petrol and liquid petroleum touched twenty four billion dollars.

We have no doubt in saying that a criminal negligence was meted out to fully exploiting the coal at Thar as well as other precious natural resources lying untouched and untapped in the country.

Had these been put to use, the situation in the country would have been far different and it would have not been faced with issues of deficits, especially that of current account.

In fact, our energy imports eat up most of our foreign exchange reserves and if we had developed self-reliance in this sector, we would have sufficient and cheap energy to cater to the requirements of our industrial and domestic consumers.

Anyway it is a matter of great satisfaction that the incumbent coalition government is now paying special attention to Thar Coal.

Whilst an agreement has been signed between Sindh Government and Pakistan Railways for linking Thar coal mines with the coal-based power plants, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also announced to convene a meeting of stakeholders on Thar Coal Mines next week.

The focus must be as to how the precious coal reserves at Thar can best be utilized and that too in the minimum possible time.

As we have been suggesting in these columns, apart from generating electricity from Thar Coal, we should also use the coal reserves to produce gas and diesel to meet the domestic requirements.

A policy in this regard can be prepared aimed at providing incentives to the companies for investment in Thar.

Help of Chinese companies can be sought to produce gas and diesel from indigenous coal. Simultaneously, the government should also accelerate efforts to tap other resources including those lying at Reko Diq and other areas of Balochistan.

To break the begging bowl once and for all, our authorities concerned will have to work towards exploiting the full potential of all the sectors.

 

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