LAHORE (ASHRAF JAVED ) – The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is all set to join hands with Indian TATA Group and Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) for technology transfers to conduct open-cast mining of Thar Coal, it was reliably learnt on Thursday.

Highly-placed sources in the federal government disclosed to TheNation that Arvind Saxena, who is working at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad as the Economic and Commercial Counsellor, has been facilitating Indian based companies for striking business deals between Pakistan’s SECMC and Indian companies TATA and BHEL.

The management of SECMC has also confirmed the development to this reporter stating that it was already in consultation with the Indian companies TATA-Power and Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited for technology transfers to conduct open cast mining of the Thar Coal project.

Sources further revealed that Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, a subsidiary of Engro Group, had been engaged in feasibility study of the coal mining for the last three years in Thar. The company requires three billion dollars for mining and construction of 1200-MW power project for generation of electricity from the coal mines.

Of late, Shamsuddin Sheikh, CEO (SECMC) was also deliberating with Indians to sell Pakistani coal to India for their projects in Gujrat and Naveli Tamil Nadu.

“In this regard, Arvind Saxsena arranged different visits of SECMC Manager Business Development and Mining Engineer to Naveli Mines, Tamil Nadu and Gujrat Mineral Development Corporation Limited in India as well,” official sources confirmed.

Earlier, a five-member Indian delegation visited Lahore and Karachi and held meetings with Pakistani business persons at FPCCI, KCCI and LCCI.

Reportedly, a parliamentary trade delegation comprising 20 members, including Nafisa Shah, daughter of CM Sindh, visited India during July 2012 and discussed the possibilities of cooperation on Thar Coal Project.

Dr Mahesh Malani, MNA and close associate of the President, also visited India while the Pakistani parliamentary delegation was on its tour to India.

Rumours are afloat that USA-India backed corrupt political-cum-business mafia appears to be involved in this game and key players allegedly include President Asif Ali Zardari, CM Sindh, Syeda Nafisa Shah (MNA-PPP), Dr Mahesh Malani (MNA-PPP) in this multi-billion dollars hidden scam.

Experts were of the view that Thar coal project should preferably be developed under the administration, technical and scientific consultation of Maj Gen (Retd) Pervez Akmal, Corps of Engineers, who is already working to develop an institutional model for Thar coal or Dr. Shahid Muneer, Professor and Director of Center for Coal Technology, University of Punjab.