Islamabad-The government has decided to execute laying of new railway track for the supply of Thar Coal on BOT/PPP mode, after the planning ministry said that PSDP funding is less and cannot be committed for the new rail track project. The idea of inclusion of rail connectivity with Thar coal reserves project under the umbrella of CPEC was ruled out by the planning ministry saying that the corridor projects are ultimately liability to the exchequer and PSDP funding is very not as much and cannot be committed, for the new rail track project may exceed Rs50 billion. The planning commission proposed that the rail connectivity can be taken on BOT basis which can be jointly financed by the Federal Government, Sindh, Power Generation and Fertilizer Companies.

The stakeholders are ready to construct the project as proposed by the planning ministry and therefore the government has decided to execute the project on BOT/PPP mode, said the source. The source said that there are two aspects of the project, one is the laying of 105-kilometer long new railway line Thar coal mines to Chhor station on Hyderabad-Mirpur Khas, Khokhropar section of Pakistan railway. And the second is the improvement of the existing 149 KM track from Hyderabad to new Chhor station.

The project will require around 1600 Acres of land and it will be operational by June 2022 with the initial capacity of carrying 3.80 MTPA coal from Thar coal mine. By 2025 it will have the capacity to transport 10.80 MTPA coal, the source said. The cost of laying of 105-kilometer long new railway line from Thar coal mines to Chhor station on Hyderabad-Mirpurekhas, Khokhropar section of Pakistan railway is around Rs24.50 billion, cost of rolling stock is Rs65 billion, O&M cost is Rs4 billion and cost of improvement of the existing 149 KM track from Hyderabad to new Chhor station is Rs3.8 billion. The source said that rail transportation of coal from Thar mines is the most feasible and three times cheaper option as compared to road transportation. The project will help saving foreign exchange reserves of $432 million per annum which can increase up to $1.2 billion per annum at ultimate mine capacity. Moreover the transportation by rail will protect the road infrastructure from damage and will save the environment.