SIALKOT - Member Science and Technology Planning Commission of Pakistan, Dr Samar Mubarakmand has said that Pakistan is rich in coal reservoirs and stands fourth in the world with 175 million tonnes of coal.

Addressing the Presidents of Chambers of Commerce and Industry at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Saturday, he said that Pakistan could produce gas and power through underground coal gasification due to the unique quality of the coal and fulfil its industrial as well as domestic needs sufficiently. The government has approved 100 megawatt project and Thar Coal Board has already decided to attract private sector to show “Expression of Interest” (EOI) in the project,” he revealed. Dr Samar said that a lobby was actively working against the project just to deprive the nation of inexpensive electricity and gas.

“More and more Thermal Power Plants are switched back to furnace oil as fuel and high content of sulphur in the furnace oil rapidly corroded the boilers with a subsequent reduction in power generation capacity,” he pointed out, adding that the total power generation from thermal plants stood around 4,000 MW which was nearly a third of the total installed capacity of these plants.

Dr Samar said that the Science and Technology section of the Planning Commission had conceived the project for the generation of 100 MW of electricity. He claimed that similar projects were being currently executed at more than 40 places in the subcontinent. Coal is also converted into coal gas above the ground in machines called surface gasifies,” he argued, and disclosed that “Surface Gasifies had already been installed and were in operation in different industries across the country while 18 gasifies were currently on order waiting delivery within short span of time. This solution, he said, had become very popular in the manufacturing sector of the country and it was expected that by the end of the current year significant number of industries would generate their own gas and electricity from the coal.

Dr Samar expressed the hope that this would greatly impact the economic growth of the country through enhanced manufacturing, increased employment, competitive exports as well as intensity of mining sector.

He said that in line with the newly developed Economic Growth Strategy of Planning Commission, a considerable increase in GDP would be observed in the coming years in the production sector without any burden on the public sector development programme, adding that the Planning Commission had provided technical impetus and intellectual inputs to advance the economy of the nation.

On the occasion Presidents of Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sargodha, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Sheikhupura and President Central and North Punjab Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry assured to extend their full support for the success of Thar Coal Project and urged the government to release funds immediately for the project.