pr_sc_4_unit21_0312130001332010062FOR EVERY country, its natural resources are considered as its asset as they play backbone role in establishing and maintaining its economy. Pakistan is listed among those countries, which are highly rich in natural resources. In world almost every countrys economy depends upon its production of energy i.e. electricity, fuel and gas per year. Fortunately, in Pakistan the desert of Thar, Sindh, (the worlds fourth largest stock of coal) exists which contains 175000 million tons of coal in the depth of 600 feet. This vast amount of such a blessed and priceless mineral can be used for years for power generation as well as industrial processes proficiently.

For the sake of measurements, a single ton of coal can produce one barrel of diesel and so the Thar coal can produce 175000 million barrels of diesel, this ample amount of oil is more than the collective oil of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Middle East countries. Nowadays the world is generating 41.6 % of electricity only from coal and our very neighbor state India is generating 53.3 per cent of electricity from coal. On the other hand, the misfortune is that our country Pakistan is generating only a 2.3 per cent of electricity from coal and 55.5 per cent from oil. Due to this tragedy, our annual import of oil costs (i.e approximately 15000 million dollars) is increasing day by day. On the other hand, the electricity, which is generated by this oil, is costing 15-18 rupees per unit, which really affects the economy of country. Although the government gives a subsidy of 5-8 rupees per unit to its customers but even that users pay 10-13 rupees for a single unit. This causes a drastic effect on common people as well as on industries, factories, companies, agriculture and on all other developmental areas.

In this condition Pakistan has only one ray of hope, which is the “Thar Coal Power Project”.

Four years ago, government of Sindh had founded Thar Coal Energy Board to utilize the coal of Thar. Chief Minister of Sindh including the Federal Ministers of Water and Electricity, Finance, and some MPAs of Sindh Assembly were selected as its members. The main objective of this board was to bring foreign investors here and give them every facility. A fine budget was allocated by the government for the construction purpose at the site for TCPP project. The coal under the desert of Thar is widely spreaded over 9600sq kms and this wide area is separated in various blocks, each block is allotted by 60-100 kms. A network of roads and streets constructed in these blocks and a hostel of 300 rooms built too by the government in Islamkot (Thar Parker), especially for foreign investors. Moreover, a proper network of electricity extended through the blocks as well as hostel. A well-planned drainage system also constructed there and water plants planted there for purification of water. Not only this but a Hospital of 200 beds made too between blocks to cope with any emergency. By these efforts, Thar Coal Energy Board made it possible to attract foreign investors to invest on the coal of Thar. Several companies are now working in Underground Coal Gasification Project (UGC) of Dr Samar Mubarak Mands project including COUGAR Energy Australia, BINDAEN group of Gulf, GLOBAL Company (china), Angro and Sindh Coal Mining Company.

Above mentioned companies are working on this project since last two years on five blocks and Government of Pakistan had funded 10.5 million dollars to project. The objective of this project was to bring the gas on earth level then make it possible to generate electricity, for diesel, plastic, urea, pesticides, and avail to common consumers. In the beginning of 2012, this project was successfully completed. It is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the coal, which was under the earth since millions of years, appeared as gas. Indeed, it is not less than a good news for whole the nation. Therefore, we may say that Thar-coal is the only ray of light in such a darkness of energy crisis.

Well it is an appreciable achievement, but still we have to do a lot in future initiatives of TCPP. Proper Funding for the infrastructure, development and infrastructure investment needs to be fast-tracked to provide comfort to prospective investors and sponsors. However, the federal government and the government of Sindh should take certain strong initiatives, as sincere political will is still lacking to take the Thar coal project to the next level.

So all here just the needed are Strong financial as well as economical strategies that are still required to make this project more efficient.

The primary objective of Thar Coal should be to provide sustainable, reliable and economical electricity to every local consumer and citizen of Pakistan. If we succeeded into implementing this project, than that day is not too much far when not only every individual will be self-employed but also our country will be such strong enough that we will be supplying energy to other countries.  Now it depends upon state representatives and policy makers that how they are converting this ray of hope into a fruitful outcome and bringing countrys economy on prosperous smooth tracks.

The writer is the student of B.E. in the Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering SandT, Nawabshah.

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