ISLAMABAD - Differences between the members of Planning Commission on the fate of ‘Thar Coal Project’ may lead to jeopardise the pace of on-going development work, which is believed to be a vital indigenous resource to meet the energy requirements of the country.

Shahid Sattar, the Planning Commission (PC) Member (Energy), on Saturday told an international energy conference said the commission had conducted the audit of ‘Thar Coal Pilot Project’ and stopped release of funds because it was thought to be impracticable. “It’s not possible to produce 10 megawatt of electricity from the Thar Coal Project,” he said, adding Dr Samar Mubarakmand had failed in producing gas through the Thar Coal field. “Dr Samar’s coal gasification is a failure as the gas flamed only for four hours and then dropped off,” Shahid said, adding that the release of more funds for the pilot project would be ‘risky’.

However, Dr Samar, when contacted, negated Sattar’s opinion, saying Thar coal gas remained flaming for almost four months and if still someone couldn’t see it, then it was his fault. He added that the oil and commission mafia was a major hurdle in the project and Shahid never visited the site. The nuclear scientist also made it clear that underground gasification work had not failed, adding 100 MW of power production could be started immediately, if the govt released the necessary funds.

Dr Samar, who is also the PC’s Member Science and Technology, further said the government had released only $10 million so far against the allocated $115 million reserved for the pilot project after the work started some three years ago.

APP adds: In a statement issued from the CM’s House Karachi, Shahid Sattar rejected the media report attributed to him regarding the project. He had only said the efficacy of the project was yet to be determined.