KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Thursday awarded exploring licences to Sindh Lakhra Coal Mining Company (SLCMC) over 20,000 acres at Thatta/Sonda to conduct feasibility study for development of mining.

He was presiding over the 30th Sindh Coal Authority (SCA) Board meeting here at the CM House. The board meeting was attended by its members, MPAs Ghulam Qadir Chandio, Khairunisa Mughal, Dr Mahesh Kumar, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary Sohail Rajput, Secretary Energy Agha Wasif, Secretary Finance Jahangir, DG Sindh Coal Authority Arjan Kumar and other concerned officers.

The chief minister said that significant coal reserves are available at small coal fields of Sonda, Jhimpir, Lakhra, Indus East and Badin but major mining activity is going on only at Lakhra while limited activity is in progress at Jhimpir. Therefore, the chief minister directed Sindh Lakhra Coal Mining Company (SLCMC) to initiate projects there.

The chief minister after thorough discussion approved awarding exploration licence to SLCMC over 20,000 acres at Thatta/Sonda to conduct feasibility study for development of mining project.

The chief minister said that the construction of roads was not the job of SCA. Therefore being chairman of SCA board, he approved transfer all its on-going road sector schemes to Works and Services Department and also abolished four positions of SCA engineers, including of chief engineer SCA.

Since the road sector works have been taken away from the SCA, therefore the chief minister also abolished the positions of chief engineer, superintendent engineer, executive engineer, assistant director (engineering) and of protocol officer.

On the recommendation of SCA, the board approved creation of some positions such as assistant director (Finance) BS-17; deputy director (mining) BS-18and also upgraded the positions of steno/senior scale steno/PA/APS/PS and of computer operators in higher grade. With the abolition of these posts there would be a saving of Rs6.24 million annually.

The chief minister was told that SCA has earned Rs560 million under royalty and Cess in the years 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Sindh Coal Authority requested the chief minister to enhance the annual grant in aid of SCA from Rs50 million to Rs90 million. The chief minister keeping in view the performance and scope of the SCA enhanced its grant in aid to Rs100 million with effect from June 1, 2018.