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Thar coal pumps power

AT long last, Pakistan has started producing electricity from local Thar coal. The first of two 330 MW units of the 660 MW project located in Thar Block II was tested and energized on Monday. The second 330MW unit will be connected to the national grid in April this year.
Indeed this is great news for the energy starved country which has to spend billions of dollars every year on oil and LNG imports to meet domestic requirements of power. The operationalization of these two units managed by ENGRO is expected to cut oil imports worth up to $ 1.6 billion per annum. Had criminal negligence was not meted out to the exploitation of Thar coal, Pakistan today would have been energy sufficient and not required to import oil and gas for power generation. The country had discovered the world’s seventh largest coal reserves of 175 billion tons in 1991 which are more than the combined oil reserves of energy rich Saudi Arabia and Iran and sixty-eight times higher than Pakistan’s total gas reserves. Given this great potential, the government needs to attract more investment to fully utilize the coal reserves lying in Tharparkar. In fact the country can produce thousands of megawatts of cheap electricity from this source alone which may help not only bring down the prices of electricity in the country but additional electricity can also be exported. Whilst pursuing the development of coal, local people of Tharparkar should not be overlooked and investment be made in different sectors there including health and education in order to improve their living standard. Apart from Thar coal, efforts should also be expedited towards exploring other natural resources hidden in Chiniot and Balochistan. Security situation stands much improved in all parts of the country and it is time that the government fully facilitates the investors to invest in the exploration of natural and mineral resources. This will not only create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities but also take the country towards achieving self-reliance and break the begging bowl once and for all.