KARACHI   -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that completion of the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) scheme to provide water to Thar Coal Block-II was vital for investment in the energy sector, therefore appropriate technology for pre-treatment such as reverse osmosis (RO) or membrane bio reactor (MBR) should be selected as soon as possible.

He said this while presiding over a meeting on installation of pre-treatment for RO plant at Nabisar for Thar Coal Block-II here at Committee No.1 of the CM House. The meeting was attended by Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, Special Assistant to CM on Irrigation Ashfaq Memon, Chairperson of P&D Naheed Shah, Secretary for Energy Musadiq Khan, Secretary for Finance Najam Shah, Secretary for Irrigation Dr Saeed Mangnijo, Khalid Masroor (CEO of HUBCO), Abul Fazal Rizvi (CEO of SECMC), Saleemullah Memon (CEO of TEL & ThalNova), Ahsan Zafar Syed (CEO of Engro Energy), Haji Khan Jamali (Superintendent Engineer at Irrigation Thar Coal Project) and other concerned officers.

The chief minister was told that the scheme of pre-treatment at Nabisar for Thar Coal Bloc-II was approved by the government at the cost of Rs3.25 billion. The scheme for pre-treatment was prepared to feed 60 cusecs of raw water to RO plant. The design of pre-treatment was based on ultra filtration basis.

Later, work was stopped on the scheme and on the request of the SECM and power companies, a revised scheme of Rs14.3 billion was prepared based on Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR) technology and it was designed for inflow of 75 cusecs.

The planning & development department raised serious objections to increase in the cost from Rs3.25 billion to Rs14.325 billion. Therefore, the matter was referred to the provincial cabinet. On the recommendation of the cabinet committee, NESPAK was hired as third party consultant for recommendation of technology and financial review.

Now, the power companies have requested that due to urgency for operation of power units updated ultra filtration technology for discharge of 75 cusecs raw water may be approved and save the time required by the consultant.

The water quality required for the pre-treatment plant should have certain parameters such as biochemical oxygen demand (BODs), chemical oxygen demand (COD) suspended solids (SS), total nitrogen (TN), ammonia nitrogen (NH4+), feed water fouling index, free chlorine, Iron and manganese.

The chief minister directed Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh to call a joint meeting of power companies, SECM and NESPAk to discuss the urgency of selection of the technology. “We should resolve this matter so that operation of power plants being installed there can be started,” he said.

Shah said that major achievement has been made by launching 660 MW Thar Coal power plants but “we have to expand this generation by installing more plants,” he said and added Thar was the future of Pakistan and we have to work on it more effectively and efficiently.