A few days ago, the Prime Minister of Pakistan inaugurated the first supercritical thermal power plant of Pakistan in Sahiwal which will be run on coal. Although this plant is not big enough to meet the shortfall of power, it is a good sign. In spite of this, I have some apprehensions about this plant. 

According to my understanding, it is not a new plant and it is a used plant from China which will be run on imported coal. The 4.48 million tons of imported coal per year from Indonesia and South Africa will be taken from Karachi seaports to Sahiwal on rails. To run a power plant on imported coal is not a wise step. In fact, I wrote an article about this plant two years ago on the occasion of the stone laying ceremony of this plant. The plant should have been designed to be able to use indigenous coal which is abundantly available. Apart from the high cost of the imported coal, transportation is also a concern. Looking at the present condition of our railway system, if the supply of huge quantity of imported coal is affected due to local rail disturbances, the plant will not be able to run properly. 

My second apprehension is that this plant is an old one and so it will be prone to occasional or frequent faults with consequential shut downs. 

Another consideration is that this plant does not need 1,700 acres of land which is allotted for it. This surplus valuable agriculture land will be of no use to the plant. In my opinion, this land is intentionally associated with the plant so that, sometime later, it may be given to the construction mafia for housing schemes to make money. 


Lahore, May 27.