ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum & Natural Resources has recommended release of funds to Geological Survey of Pakistan, while Geological Survey of Pakistan Director General Dr Imran Khan said that if needed funds are provided then vast quantity of coal can be mined.

NA body meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chaudry Bilal Virk on Tuesday. During the course of meeting, officials of petroleum ministry told that the ministry has requested release of Rs65 million funds but no release has been made so far. “The funds are required to procure rigs required for coal mining. And, the rigs, which were procured in 1970, have become outdated,” they added.

About separation of methane gas from the coal, the officials were of the opinion that a separate plan would be devised in this regard. To them, this plan would require Rs440 million funds to meet the objectives and targets as well. They said if this project is approved then coal can be saved and gas can be easily extracted.

Supporting their argument, they also said that due to absence of methane extraction, blast can appear in the mine which in result can also waste the coal.

Taking notice of irregularities in the construction of Petroleum House, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi, who was present on the occasion, told the meeting that it is substandard. Even, PWD department does not have a map of the building. He also said inquiry will be held to make those responsible accountable.

About gas theft in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Secretary Petroleum Abid Saeed informed the NA body that Sui Northern Gas Company Limited (SNGPL) has been assigned the task to control gas theft.