LAHORE - The Punjab government has constituted a high level committee to formulate detailed modalities for setting up Punjab Coal Pricing Board that would devise a mechanism for coal tariff, it has been learnt.

A notification to this effect has been issued by the government the other day. Official sources told that the committee would comprise the Chief Secretary as chairman while Additional Chief Secretary, Chairman P&D Board, Secretary Mines and Minerals, Secretary Law department or any member to be co-opted by the convener.

Talking about the terms of reference (TORs) for the committee, the notification said that besides devising modalities for establishing a Coal Pricing Board, it would also finalise the structure, composition and TORs of the board.

Moreover, the committee would also prepare a legal framework for the new board being established for the first time in Punjab.

Sources said that earlier, there was no mechanism to decide coal prices in the province and after the federal government in principal decided to install coal fired power stations, the provincial government felt need that a board must be set up to decide prices for the coal. It is to be recalled that the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal had reiterated that the PML-N government, in collaboration with China, wanted to establish 10 coal-fired power houses at Thar during the next ten years. The government wanted to generate more than 6500MW electricity from such power stations.

The Sindh government has already stressed that owing to full official patronage of the federal as well as the provincial governments the Thar coal-based electricity would be available to the national grid by the year 2017-18. The Thar Coal Energy Board (TCEB) has also approved the Resource Pricing mechanism as the standard coal pricing system in the case of the Thar project.

The Punjab government has been taking some critical measures to develop the mining culture and in a bid, Punjab CM Mian Shahbaz Sharif has ordered to set up a company and dissolve directorate of Mines and Minerals in Punjab.