Thar coal energy project: Thank you, President Zardari

Munno Bhai analyses a good news from Sindh:

Sindh cabinet approves Thar coal project to generate up to 1,000MW power
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
By By our correspondent

The Sindh Cabinet approved on Tuesday the Thar coal project for the generation of 600 to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity under public-private partnership. A draft bill to ban the use of old syringes was approved as well, Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri said while briefing journalists about the decisions taken by the Sindh Cabinet during its meeting on Tuesday.

The Cabinet also approved a draft bill to set up a medical university for women in district Benazirabad (formerly Nawabshah), a public-private partnership bill to launch the Keenjhar and Gorakh Hill projects and amendments in the Agriculture Act of 1939 to end the role of “middlemen”.

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah decided to lease 610 forest acres in district Thatta and upgrade the taluka Shahdadpur hospital. It also decided to control price-hike during Ramazan.

The cabinet was briefed about the killing of Rehman Baloch (alias Rehman Dakait) in an alleged police encounter by Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, as well as the public reaction to the killing.

Participants of the meeting hoped that Dakait’s death will help improve the law-and-order situation in the city, especially Lyari. The ministers condemned the Gojra incident in Punjab and observed a one-minute silence over the killings of Christians there.

Marri said that the Thar coal project was the joint Engro-Sindh government venture, under which 1.1 billion dollars will be spent for coal mining and 2.2 billion dollars for power generation.

She said that the feasibility report of the project will likely be completed within two years. In order to expedite the utilization of the coal reserves by providing infrastructure development, the construction of an airport was underway at Islamkot, while efforts were also being taken to lay railway lines there.

She said that the People’s Medical College in Benazirabad will be given the status of a medical university for women.

Pakistan invites Chinese company for gasification of coal in Sindh
Wednesday, 26 Aug 2009

APP reported that Mr Asif Ali Zardari president of Pakistan invited a private Chinese company to visit Pakistan and examine the possibility of coal gasification in Sindh for fertilizers manufacturing and power production.

In a meeting here with President of the company Mr Wang Shihong, he said that their venture in Pakistan will not only be beneficial to the company but also for Pakistan’s economy. The company will send its delegation next month to Pakistan in consultation with government of Sindh. It has already made coal gas plants in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and 6 other countries.

(Sourced from

Sovling energy crisis
Khalid Chandio
Energy provides personal comfort and mobility to people, and is essential for the generation of industrial, commercial and societal wealth. Energy is one of the important prerequisites for the economic development of any country. It has dual role i.e. it is used for the industrial and agricultural purposes and it is required for domestic use too. Pakistan is presently facing a serious energy crisis. Now, the demand exceeds supply and hence load shedding is being witnessed through frequent power shutdowns. She needs about 14000-15000MW electricity per day, and the demand is likely to rise to approximately 20,000 MW per day by 2010. Presently, it can produce about 11, 500 MW per day and thus there is a shortfall of about 3000-4000MW per day. This shortage is badly affecting industry, commerce and daily life of the people. The country needs a quantum jump in electricity generation in medium-term scenario to revert the possibilities of load shedding in future due to shrinking gap between demand and supply of electricity at peak hours.

Energy is a key factor for the stability and prosperity of Pakistan. If our production units keep on shutting down then unemployment will rise and hence street violence will get momentum. We have experienced a horrible power shut downs in Karachi, Lahore and other major cities of Pakistan where not only common people suffered but also our industries did suffer as most of the industries are based in major cities in Pakistan. Current economic scenario of Pakistan is already under intense pressure. On one hand it has the competitors like China and India giving cut throat fight and on the other hand it has continuous problem on its western borders draining its resources and causing political chaos. Serious energy shortage, massive load-shedding and lowest ever strategic oil reserves are emerging as major risk to the economy. One of the major problems facing the new government, the energy crisis, is intense, costly and multi-dimensional.

South Asia is important to world energy markets because it contains 1.3 billion people and is experiencing rapid energy demand growth. After India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the next largest South Asian countries in these categories. Economic and population growth in South Asia have resulted in rapid increases in energy consumption in recent years.

The major energy issues facing South Asian nations today are keeping up with rapidly rising energy demand. It is also projected that by the year 2010 South Asian countries shall be consuming more than double the current levels of primary commercial energy. India is already in the race of acquiring energy from any part of the world and her thirst for energy culminated in singing of Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Technology. China’s energy-hungry economy has now focused on Africa; the world’s poorest continent emerging as an important global source of oil and gas attracting competing interest from Europe, Russia and Asia. China has also developed much warmer relations with Saudi Arabia. Now the question is why Pakistan is dormant and sitting idle in not having some sort of inter-regional and intra-regional arrangements for energy security.

It is a high time that Pakistan must restructure its energy policy. Instead of many agencies one central ministry ought to look after the energy issues in Pakistan. The dilemma is that over the years we have neglected other sources of energy i.e. coal, wind, solar etc. Take coal for example, Pakistan has the 7th largest coal reserve in the world (in Thar area- Sindh) but it is very unfortunate to know that it currently plays a minor role in Pakistan’s energy mix. Coal is one of the cheapest ways to produce electricity, and that is why countries like Australia produce 77% of their electricity from coal. Coal must be tapped as soon as possible.

The only argument for not going coal is put forward that it causes pollution but recently, thanks to technology, work is being done to make it as pollution free as possible. This project would not only help overcome un-employment but also bring prosperity and development in the area. And mind it that Thar is one of the poorest regions of Sindh. So, by initiating this project means development of Thar. The bureaucratic hurdles should be removed and the project must be started otherwise the future generation might not forgive us. The present government headed by Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) both in Federal and Sindh has shown much interest in developing electricity through coal as it is the duty of the sitting government to ensure indiscriminate load shedding. Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline should also get materialized as it not only guarantees energy but this project would also bring three countries much closer to each other. Because it is generally believed that trade brings prosperity and prosperity brings well being of the rank and file and these common people might become agents of change.

The other area that needs our attention is the wind energy and Pakistan is blessed with a large resource of wind corridor. So, the government should never hesitate by initiating this type of project. One area that needs our attention is to emphasize the conservation of energy. We have to persuade all the concerned that all possible measures be taken to save energy. Energy efficient plants and machines are the recipe for our survival. The campaign for initiating awareness by using efficient household appliances to mitigate energy crisis is needed. Because, energy conservation is indeed energy production.

Pakistan is facing acute shortage of energy and this would also be a wise decision to focus on nuclear energy which is renewable, cheap and environment free. The situation demands an urgent decision. A decision which is vital for the safety, stability and survival of Pakistan.