KARACHI (PPI) - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah Saturday said that federal government had been successfully convinced to recognize the authority of Sindh government over the Thar coal reserves and coal-based power generation matters, adding negotiations were under way with foreign investors in this connection. Replying to questions asked by MPAs Arif Mustafa Jatoi, Anwar Ahmed Khan Mahar and Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto, on the floor of Sindh Assembly, he said that the present government has assigned a high priority to the task of development of coal reserves of Sindh and after the failure of the 15 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed by the previous government. He said steps were being taken to attract foreign and local investment by offering incentives to investors so as to ensure proper utilization of huge coal reserves of Thar for electricity generation. Qaim Ali Shah said that measures are also being taken to allocate provincial resources towards coal mining in joint ventures to enhance the confidence of the potential investors and to plan infrastructure and human resource development to meet the challenge of introducing a new sector in the national economy, including mechanized mining and coal-based power generation. The CM said that power plants would be set up at Ketti Bandar to generate power by using Thar coal. He said that although Sindh government was handling this issue, the federal government was also cooperating in this regard. He said that estimated coal deposits in Sindh are 185.465billion tons He said that 96 small-scale coal mining permit had been issued in Sindh : 82 for Jamshoro/Dadu and 14 for Thatta, adding 129coal exploration permits had also been granted: 100 for Dadu and Jamshoro and 29 for Thatta. He said two large-scale coal leases issued: one each for Jamshoro/Dadu, and Thatta, adding nine large-scale coal coal exploration leases had also been granted: one for Thatta, four for Thar and four for Badin. He said that total production of coal during the period from January 01, 2007 to December 31, 2007 remained 10,45,313 metric tons and 6,534 persons were employed in the coal mines as on December 31, 2007. Qaim Ali Shah said that two mining leases had been granted for coal in Lakhra Coal field Jamshoro and Sonda-Jherruck Coal Field in district Thatta, while nine exploration licenses have also been granted in Tharparker, Thatta and Badin. He said that as regard procedure adopted in this connection, after signing the MOU between Sindh Coal Authority and the parties and on the recommendation of the Sindh Coal Authority, the applications were placed before Mines Committee, so that they could be evaluated and sent to government for approval. He said no power plants has been established in the province as yet. He said that Larkana-Khairpur Bridge over Indus River was conceived by Ms Benazir Bhutto in 1995 and the project was approved by ECNEC on March 07, 2007 at a cost of Rs4830. 720million. He said the scheme is being financed through federal government PSDP and executed by the NHA. To a question, he said that the revenue Rs8,91,97,604 was received from mining leases/ concessions during the period from July 01, 2002 to April 30, 2008. He elaborated that the Directorate General of Mine and Mineral Development has granted mining permits of limestone at Rohri Bypass. He said that permit holders have established the crusher units to crush the limestone. He said these cases for grant of mining permits had been placed before the Mines Committee under Sindh Mining Concession Rule 2002 and permits were issued after the approval of the competent authority including the government. Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri informed that Japan is catering 60 percent power-generation needs from coal, while this percentage was 70percent in China 70, adding many other countries were also extensively using coal for power generation.