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Murad: Gas conversion of Thar coal will reduce circular debt

Sindh CM wants JCC to consider other power generation sites

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 23, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Sep 23, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Photo: Online

There is a great potential for development if Thar coal power projects are moved from the mine-mouth to other potential sites, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told participants of the meeting of the 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on Thursday.

The meeting was held in Islamabad and the Sindh chief minister addressed the participants via a video link. Minister of Energy Imtiaz Shaikh and Secretary energy Abu Bakar also attended the meeting.

JCC is the highest decision-making body on projects relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Shah said that if Keti Bandar was used for coal blending and power generation and if there was rail connectivity between Islamkot and Mirpurkhas, it would help substitute imported coal in coal-fired power plants to much cheaper Thar coal. He said that it could even help reduce the circular debt.

Pointing out that the Sindh government was working with the Chinese on Thar Coal-based power projects under CPEC, he said that the provincial government believed that it was the right time to use Thar coal for coal-to-gas and coal-to-liquid conversion. This, he said, was crucial for reducing the circular debt and ensuring domestic energy needs for rapid economic growth.

Reminding the meeting that these aspects had already been discussed at the Ninth JCC meeting, he said that it was the right time to devise ways and means to capitalize on these potentials, including using Thar coal for coal gasification to fertilizer Projects.

Discussing the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project, he said that the KCR was an integral part of the Karachi Transportation Plan.

“Different bus transport systems, which are at various levels of implementations, will improve connectivity but without the KCR loop, the whole idea remains incomplete,” he said. He urged the JCC to get requisite aassurances from the government of Pakistan and the Chinese government to kick-start the KCR.

According to him, the Dhabeji socio-economic zone was in close proximity to Port Qasim and it would be ready for industrial estate development by August 2022.

Stressing the need for engaging with Chinese investors, he said that it was necessary to develop the already identified sectors of steel, automobile manufacturing, automobile vendors, electronic manufacturing and assembly, food processing, chemical and pharmaceutical, textile and garments.

He said that the Sindh government was “committed to substantially increase the area from the original 1,500 acres for facilitating Chinese investment and industrial relocation”.

As a follow-up on the JCC, he requested the Sindh Chambers, Chinese investors and entrepreneurs to work on these potentials.

Expressing the hope that projects in Sindh would start soon, he said that the Sindh government had already shared 15 projects in three batches under the CPEC fold.

“We are also keen to deepen our engagement in enhancing agricultural productivity and boosting ties in agriculture and livestock research, and agro-based industrialization,” he said. One specific area for agriculture cooperation was biosaline agriculture for coastal districts.

He urged the Chinese government to work with the province’s agriculture and livestock departments, growers, and representatives of chambers for work on specifics of engagements.

Appreciating the efforts of the ministry of planning, development and special initiative and NDRC for convening the JCC meeting, he hoped that the meeting would help strengthen the ties between two countries.

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