IN the next financial year, 2010-11, subsidies on fuel will be cut further, from the present Rs 147 billion (in the current 2009-10) to Rs 74 billion, as part of a move to cut subsidies given on essential commodities, mostly food and fuel by 46 percent. This decision will mean that the consumer, already very hard pressed by inflation, will be further hit hard as the effects reach the marketplace. The government is doing this to be able to meet IMF targets, about which it is more concerned than the welfare of the ordinary citizen. The government should realise that the IMF does not care about the suffering of the ordinary man, but the government is supposed to, especially when it is possible to see an escape route. This was proffered by Dr Samar Mubarikmand, Planning Commission Member (Science and Technology), who told the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry that coal from Thar had the potential to supply 50,000MW of electricity for the next 800 years. He also said that in 15 to 18 months a unit producing 100 MW would be set up, and after that a plant generating 500 MW to 1000 MW would be set up. The government should look to reduce the price of electricity by engaging in more such initiatives. However, it should give more thought to the transitional phase, and make sure that it knows for how long it will pay the expenses of development. Thar coal, for example, is receding steadily into the future as a source of energy, the closer it comes to being exploited. While such truly innovative projects may lie in the future, less innovative projects, using tried and tested technology, such as the Kalabagh Dam project, for which the feasibility reports are all favourable, should be implemented to tide over the gap. Dr Mubarikmand said that he was aiming to produce a team of engineers and scientists that would take Pakistan to new heights. He also said that Pakistans focus was on locally producing turbines and generators, which made up 75 percent of the cost of a power plant. Dr Mubarikmands expertise in power engineering and in its application to Thar coal notwithstanding, it must be kept in mind that he won fame in nuclear weapons and missile technology. Since India continues to be a threat, which is why the technology was developed in the first place, he must not neglect this aspect while working on the latest crisis to face Pakistan. The government is responsible to ensure that the nations energy needs are met through a clear policy that keeps in view the ground realities of the time. While using the best scientific and technological talents available, it must also not lose sight of the defence of the country.