Utilisation of Thar Coal

ALTHOUGH the country happens to be one of the richest countries of the world in terms of mineral resources including copper, gold, coal, iron ore, shale gas, oil, marble, granite, etc, yet the inability to exploit these very bounties of the nature due to lack of will and resolve on the part of successive governments has kept the country backward. Had these been exploited, the country today would have not to spread the begging bowl before the world lending institutions, thus compromising its economic sovereignty.
The story of Thar coal discovered about two and a half decade ago with an estimated coal reserves of over 185 billion tones against India’s total coal deposits of 140 billion tonnes is also that of sheer negligence and lacklustre. It was in 2014 that the ground breaking of the first power plant was performed at Thar but it is still anybody’s guess when it will start contributing power to the system. Addressing a ceremony in Tharparkar, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal on Friday shared some good news that exploitation of Thar coal will now be made part of multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC). Given the technology and expertise of the Chinese companies in the coal field, we expect their involvement will help a great deal in early utilization of the Thar treasure. In fact the power to be produced from it will not only be cheap but the production of diesel from the coal will also help end our reliance on imported oil which is a burden on our foreign exchange reserves. Apart from Thar coal, it is also time to gear up efforts to uncap huge copper, gold and iron reserves lying underground in Reko Dik and Chiniot and coal in areas of Sindh. For this we can seek the assistance of friendly countries as exploiting these precious reserves can really make Pakistan self-sufficient and the country can emerge on the world map as an economic giant. However, whichever country expresses its interest for investment in these projects; agreements should be signed whilst taking care of the interests of the country.

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