LAHORE - Thar Coal Project chief Dr Samar Mubarakmand alleged on Sunday that Planning Commission started opposing his project declaring it ‘unfeasible’ and stopped financial assistance at a time when his team had successfully gasified coal and was about to enter the power generation phase.However, in an interview to Waqt News, he said the project was still on and his team was determined to provide cheap electricity to the energy-starved country.Prolonged loadshedding is being faced by people across the country and outages of up to 18 hours a day have badly hit the industrial sector. The problem will persist unless the government solves the circular debt problem.Dr Mubarakmand, who was an important member of the scientists’ team that made Pakistan a nuclear power in 1998, is now trying to produce electricity from the Thar coal, whose reserves have been estimated at 175 billion tonnes. They are sufficient to generate 50,000MW electricity and 100 million barrel of diesel for 500 years.Since using coal directly for power generation is costlier ($1.6 per watt) and will also have adverse impact on environment, Dr Mubarakmand is trying to convert the coal into gas before using it as a source for electricity.An indigenously-developed technology is being used for the purpose, which is being regarded as a great achievement even by scientists and technologists of other countries.Dr Mubarakmand’s project needs $6 billion to complete. But since the resource-starved country cannot afford to spare so much money, the scientist says he will run the project even if he is given the initial cost. “I will meet the rest of the requirements by earning profit from the project”.It has been estimated that the country would get the cheapest electricity if his project was allowed to continue working. This will cost a dollar a watt, compared to $2.3 for hydel, $2.7 for wind, $3.2 for solar and $3.5 for nuclear energy. Power generated through coal gas would cost Rs4 per unit.Dr Mubarakmand thinks that he needs six years to generate 6,000MW electricity from Thar coal. Answering a question, he said the country was facing energy crisis because power projects had not been planned in time to meet the growing requirements of all sectors.He regretted that Kalabagh Dam project had been politicised because of provincial prejudices.  In his opinion reservations expressed by the opponents of the gigantic project should be addressed.  It’s still a feasible project, the scientist said, adding that international agencies were prepared to finance it if there was consensus at home.Replying to another question, he said when agreements with IPPs and RPPs were being signed nobody had the idea that oil prices would shoot up and gas reserves dwindle. The increased dependence on furnace oil had pushed up the cost of electricity, he remarked.The government, Dr Mubarakmand said, was purchasing electricity for up to Rs16 per unit and was selling it to consumers at subsidised rates, because of which economic problems were going up. He said the National Bank of Pakistan had not released funds to him despite the fact that the president himself had issued directions for the purpose.