Direct affected of Thar Coal project now shareholders of SECMC: CM

THARPARKAR: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that believing in the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Sindh government had invested Rs11 billion cash in Thar coal mining to kick of the project. "Now, the people of Pakistan, particularly of Sindh are going to reap its fruit."
This he said while addressing the programme of celebrations of 50 percent completion of Thar Coal Mining work organised inside the 90 meters deep excavated Coal Mine at Block-II.
He said that it was the vision of prime minister [former] Shaheed Mohterma Benazir Bhutto that she had invited international investors and experts for that coal mining and installation of 10,000 MW coal-based power plant in 1994. "But, may God forbid him [Nawaz Sharif] for scrapped the project and landed the country and its people into darkness of load-shedding. As a result, Industrial development came to standstill in the country, thereby unemployment and poverty ratio went on upward. "They [the Nawaz government] not only wound up the coal project but annoyed the international investors to such an extent that nobody was ready to invest in coal sector in Thar," he recalled.
Syed Murad Ali Shah said that in such circumstances the provincial government had no option but to invest from its own kitty. "When PPP came to power in 2008 and still he had not been elected as President if Pakistan, he had held a meeting at Bilawal House and directed then chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to materialise the dream of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto by making coal power project as a reality," he recalled and added that the Sindh government made Engro its partner invested an huge amount of Rs11 billion from its resources.
He also lamented that despite the investment of Rs11 billion by provincial government the successive government of Nawaz Sharif in 2013 did not support coal projects. " Finally, we had brought both, Asif Zardari and prime minister Nawaz Sharif together at Thar so that federal government may extend helping hand in Thar Coal project but hardly we succeeded in melting the ice," he deplored.
The chief minister thanked former prime minister Raja Parvez Ashraf who during his tenure granted sovereign guarantee for Thar Coal project. He said that the Sindh government with its sincere and constant efforts has made Thar coal mining project a reality. "Once investors were running away from investments in Thar and now they are in the queue to invest here," he disclosed.
Thanking the affected people of Coal Mining and Power projects at Block-II, the chief minister said after Allah they [affected people] supported and contributed in the project. "They vacated their ancestral homes and even sacrificed their sacred places if worship," he said and announced to give them 3 percent shares of the project from the shares of the provincial government share.
Syed Murad Ali Shah reiterated his stance that the solution if national energy crises lies in Thar coal, it z future if Pakistan, therefore the federal government must support it. He announced to hand over management of all government schools functioning in Islamkot to Thar Foundation being run by Engro Energy & Mining Company. 
"The Sindh government is partner in Mining work and I am going to extend it in the education sector," he said and directed Education Minister Jam Khan Shoro who was accompanied by him to discuss and evolve mechanism to transfer administration of the schools to Thar Foundation.
The chief minister also met women truck drivers am working in the coal mining project. "It really gives me immense pleasure that the women of Thar have come out and working more than their male family members," he said.
He sat in the truck and the lady driver visited him the mine as demonstration of her skills.
It may be noted that in the project 35 lady truck drivers have been appointed, out of the a batch of 35, eight lady drives have started driving work while others are on their training.
Earlier, Terming it an unprecedented policy for first time in the history of Pakistan, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday announced that the project affected of Thar Coal Block II has been made shareholders from the profits of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC).
Along with making direct affected of Thar Coal Block-II shareholders, he also announced that the concern population of Gorano and Dukarcho reservoir scheme would also get decent compensation package for a period of 30 years.
This was announced by Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah during a 50 percent completion ceremony of the mining and power projects under way at Thar Coal Field's Block II.
The Thar Coal Project, undertaken by SECMC, a public-private partnership body in which the Sindh Government holds its 54 percent shares. Engro Powergen Thar Limited has also achieved 50% completion four months ahead of the schedule. "We will be able to reach at the coal reserves by June 2019," said Murad Ali Shah adding that the project would start generating electricity in June 2019.
"History will bear witness to the future generations that the peoples' government of Sindh is the first to pull the country out of the energy crisis, and Thar coal project is the harbinger of a better economic future of Pakistan," Shah expressed proudly.
Unprecedented in the history of the country, CM Sindh also announced a scheme to make the indigenous communities shareholders. The chief minister said that with the establishment of Thar Coal Mining project around 1700 population of the area of Thar Coal Block-II have been affected. "We have already managed to provide them shelter, a separate house to each affected couple, with all the basic facilities of quality education, best health care services, safe drinking water, and sanitation," he said and added a mosque and temple are being constructed there to practice their respective faiths.
Syed Murad Ali Shah said that each family [affected] of Thar Coal Block II would receive at least Rs100,000 share each year and the amount would be kept on increasing. "We have provided jobs to the affected families in the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and even women of the area have been employed there," he said.
"The concerned population of Gorano and Dukarcho scheme will also get a decent compensation package for 30 years along with health, education and drinking water facilities.
Speaking during the ceremony, SECMC's Chief Operating Officer, Shamsuddin Ahmad Shaikh said, "the mine of Thar Block-II with 1 X 1.6-kilometer area is the largest mine in the country. The company has removed over burden from the mine and has reached the depth of 90-meter deep. It means that 50 percent work has been completed, he said.
"For us as a company, the development of country through this project is aligned with the prosperity of the area. The project, for me, loses its meaning the moment is trajectory is not in sync with the welfare of the people of the area," Shaikh asserted.
"I personally take pride in the formation of Thar Foundation, a dedicated organization working solely for the socioeconomic benefits of the Thari People. From the platform of the Foundation, we are establishing a state-of-the-art 150-bed hospital at Islamkot, and three secondary level schools at Islamkot, Mithi, and the resettlement area with the support of TCF; whereas, three new primary school have already started to impart quality education in the villages Thahryo Helepoto, Mansigh Bheel, and Bitra of Block II."
Shaikh added that it was their aim to make Islamkot, "a model taluka of Sindh in healthcare services."
President of Engro Corporation Limited, Ghias Khan speaking at the occasion said, "It is indeed heartening to witness the 50% completion of Pakistan's first ever open pit coal mine and 2x330 MW coal fired power plant in Thar. I am really proud of Engro's Management team under the leadership of Shamsuddin Shaikh who have achieved this milestone four months ahead of schedule and even more impressive that they have done it safely with no Lost Workday Injury!"
"Engro and Government of Sindh were the two original JV partners when SECMC was formed back in 2009 -and it took us 7 long years to develop this project which has been termed as a project of National and Strategic Importance - the entire nation realizes that Thar Coal is vitally important to Pakistan's energy security."
"Government of Sindh has been a great partner for us and let me very clearly state that dealing with Government of Sindh on Thar Coal Project has been completely transparent, fair and based on merit which are also the hallmarks of Engro.
"I also want to thank all the other sponsors, Hubco, HBL, House of Habib, CMEC, SPIM, Liberty for their confidence in Engro's management in leading this project. On behalf of Engro, I congratulate SECMC and EPTL on achieving this great milestone and I eagerly look forward to seeing the Realization Dream of Thar Coal Inshallah by June 2019," Khan said. - NNI