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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari inaugurates 660 MW Thar Coal Power plant in Islamkot

April 10, 2019

Islamkot, April 10, 2019 (PPI-OT): Chairman Pakistan People Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that completion of Thar coal-based power project is the manifestation of the good governance and service delivery by the PPP’s Sindh Government. The PPP chairman stated this on Wednesday as he inaugurated the open-pit coal mine and 660 Megawatts coal-based power generation project in Thar block-II in Islamkot.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the occasion announced provision of free of charge electricity to people of Islamkot and setting up of two universities in Thar including a campus of the NED University of Engineering and Technology in Tharparkar. The other one will be a multi-disciplinary university, which will be established under public private partnership mode.

Those who also spoke at the inaugural ceremony include Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, former Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh and others. The PPP chief said on the occasion that the people of Thar have first right on the electricity being produced from Thar coal but under the agreement the provincial government has no authority to provide electricity directly to people of Thar. “Therefore, I have directed Sindh government to pay monthly electricity bill of domestic power consumers of Islamkot from its resources,” he said and in the next phase a similar facility would be extended to rest of the Thar area.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also said that Thar was set to brighten entire Pakistan with its coal energy, therefore Thar needed a most prestigious university. “On my directive Sindh Chief Minister has vowed to establish campus of NED University at Thar in the first phase and then the campus would be made a full-fledged university,” he said. The chairman said that that the people of Thar have produced energy from Thar coal. “This is new the Pakistan,” he proudly said.

[Prime Minister] Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had vacated 5000 square kilometres of Thar land from India in 1973. “This is the same land from where we are producing coal energy,” he said. Bilawal Bhutto said that April 10 is an historic day in the history of Pakistan and that of Pakistan Peoples Party.

“On April 10 Constitution Day of the country is observed because on this day 1973 Constitution was framed and on April 10, 1986 Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto after ending her exile had landed in Lahore where she was received by three million people and it is again historic April 10, 1919 when we have inaugurated first indigenous Thar coal-fired power,” he said.

He recalled that in 1994 Shaheed Benazir Bhutto after coming into government had visited Thar along with then Chief Minister Syed Abdullah Shah and had performed ground breaking ceremony of Thar Coal mining and power plant. “Today, I on behalf of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and on behalf of Syed Abdullah Shah his son Chief minister Murad Ali Shah have inaugurated Thar Coal-fired Power Plant,” he said and added “this is how the history is in making.”

Mr Bhutto Zardari said “Thar power plant launching is not only the success of the country but it is the success of our entire economy and it is the success of the vision of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and it is the manifestation of our delivery of service and good governance.

Talking about the success story of Sindh government and M/s Engro public private partnership (PPP), Mr Bilawal said that the vision of national development on PPP mode was given by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. She used to say that the governments had limited resources, therefore it could not carry out mega projects single handedly. Therefore, she gave a plan to involve NGOs, industrialists, developers and investors- national and international businesses for executing mega projects. “Learning from her vision, the Sindh government has constructed roads, bridge on River Indus and hospitals on PPP mode,” he said.

He said that the success of PPP unit of Sindh government has been acknowledged by `The Economist’- a well-reputed international magazine and ranked Sindh at sixth position in entire Asia.” Chairman Bilawal said that electricity was being generated from Thar coal and being pumping into the National Grid at Faisalabad. “This shows that Thar coal is passing on its energy to the entire Pakistan,” he said and added “to some extent, here we are denying the right of people of Thar by not giving them electricity.

CM Remarks: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah speaking on the occasion said that the power generation from Thar coal was as much big achievement as of making Pakistan a nuclear power. Shaheed Bhutto was the founder of our nuclear power [defence] and Shaheed Mohtarma was the pioneer of Thar Coal power.

He said that Thar has changed Pakistan by generating 660 MW from the indigenous source, coal. He added that it was the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto which was being termed as impossible and waste of money but we have made it [possible]. He said that Pakistan was a developing country and we would have to explore our indigenous energy sources. “Thar Coal is a great source of energy which we have developed despite extreme opposition and discouragements,” he said.

Mr Shah recalled and narrated the entire account how then President Asif Zardari had directed Sindh government to constitute Sindh Energy Board which had undertaken the task of establishing coal mining on PPP mode. He said when the Sindh government had started the coal mining project, the opponents used to say that there was no coal and whatever was available there had high sulfur ratio and termed it inferior for power generation.

“Since we were committed with the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, therefore without taking a ‘U-turn’ we have implemented the project and today it is generating electricity,” he said. Mr Murad Shah said that Thar Coal power was the only project where 71 percent jobs have been given to local people, the affected people of coal mining have been given houses, Rs100,000 for each family annually and very soon we would give them the first instalment.

M Shah said that 75 local engineers [of Thar] after receiving training from China have returned here to work on mining and power plant. Thar Foundation would be given the entire amount to be generated from the royalties of Thar coal mine and power projects for local development. He also vowed to protect the rights of local people [of Thar] while developing other projects.

Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh lauded the efforts of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah who worked day and night to give life to the project. Addressing the gathering former Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that launching of Thar Coal power plant was a big success of Sindh government and PPP. He said that on the instruction of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto he had taken then President Farooq Leghari to Thar and had showed him the coalfields. Otherwise he was also reluctant to support the project.

Consul General of China in Karachi Mr Wang Yu speaking on occasion said that he was feeling proud to attend inauguration of the Thar-coal power plants established under CPEC projects. He added that out of six top CPEC projects, Thar Coal-fired Power Plant was most important in terms its importance in the national uplift of Pakistan.

He said that it was the first step to establish Thar Coal-Fired Power plant and in the second it would be expanded further in terms of its capacity and power generation. Thar coal has the capacity to meet the entire electricity requirement of Pakistan.

Mr Samad Dawood Vice Chairman of Engro Corporation said that without energy Pakistan could not achieve its develop goals, therefore we have to tap our energy resources. He added that there was no country in the world which had ever attained its development goals without taping its indigenous energy sources. “In Thar we have vast reserves of coal to meet entire water requirement of the country,” he said.

Chairman SECMC Khursheed Jamali said it was something to be pride of to see the inauguration of the plant for which the journey was started some 24 years ago. This is the only project of Pakistan which was started against an estimated cost of $854 million and now it has been completed at $670. The saving would be utilized for the expansion of the project to 4000 MW.

Chairman visits:

Earlier, the chairman PPP visited New Senhri Dars village which has been established for 172 affected families of Thar coal mining. Naseer Memon of Thar Coal briefing the Chairman said that out of 172 houses established in the villages 72 families comprising of 500 members have been settled. The remaining vacant houses would be occupied by the allotees very soon.

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari along with Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Chairman SECMC Khursheed Jamali and CEO Abdul Fazal drove down in the coal the mines which was 164 meter deep and met with the miners working there.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019(Ext: 336)

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