ISLAMABAD - The commercial production from Thar coal fired power generation plant would be ready by June 2018, provided the financial closure is completed by March 2015, said the Chief Executive Officer of Sindh Engro Mining Company (SECME) Shamsuddin Ahmed Sheikh.

“We are the biggest investors in energy and coal mining  with an investment of US $ 2 billion in the country”, Sheikh told a  group of senior journalists representing various newspapers and news-agencies during their visit to Tharparkar Coal mines the other day. The visit was organized by Engro Company (PVT) Limited to enable the journalists to see themselves the progress of the project of national importance.  Shamsuddin told the reporters: “Prosperity is inevitable” for the people of Pakistan and Thar through exploration of the seventh largest coal mine resources blessed by Allah Almighty to this country.”

 He said that this year both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Asif Ali Zardari jointly inaugurated the Thar coal mine for cheap generation of electricity to the people and all the political parties including Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) were supporting this mega project of national interest.

Shamsuddin appreciated the federal government for including Sindh Thar coal project in Pak-China Economic Corridor and one of the priority areas in the economic development of the country.

 Sheikh urged the government for implementing the incentive package announced by the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) including concessionary import of machinery and other equipments required for the exploration of coal mining at Thar.  He also urged the relevant authorities for the clearance of Dumpers waiting for clearance at Karachi port so that the excavation process is expedited.  He said by 2030 Pakistan would need 113,695 MW of energy while its prosperity and development was linked with availability of energy. The CEO SECMC said that current installed capacity of energy in the country was 20,213 MW. He regretted that neighboring India  (Bama district Gujrat) had been using their coal reserves for the past 50 years for generation of electricity adding “70 per cent of India’s electricity comes from coal.” He said that Pakistan’s coal is better than India in terms of heating value, sulfur, ash, moisture and stripping ratio. Shamsuddin said that in the first phase, 330 MW would be  generated and in the second phase another 330 MW coal fired electricity would be generated for producing cheap and affordable energy to the people in the country.  He added for road infrastructure work had been started on 3 out of 6 segments for road rehabilitation from Thatta to Islamakot while transmission line 500 KVA HVDC 250 km had been approved and National Transmission and DistributionCompany (NTDC) has assured timely availability of the lines. In this regard, he said that Government of Sindh has also agreed to provide financing of the transmission lines.

He further said that LBOD water work has already started with 62 per cent of Phese-I work completed while effluent disposal location work under process.  Sheikh also informed the journalists that construction of Islamkot Airport is going on, as per plan; work on terminal building had started and the air strip was expected to be ready by mid-2015.

He added that 6000 acres of lanf had been acquired out of which 3000 acre was private land adding Rs 180,000 per acre compensation had been given to the affected people of Thar land.

He added that schools, health centers and job opportunities to the local people affected due to mining of land would be provided.

 Shamsuddin said that two more villages of Senhri Dars and Thariyo would come under the mining area and the displaced people would be relocated in a model village to be developed for the affected people full of health and education and other facilities.  He also thanked Sindh government for their cooperation with his company.