KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in order to develop coal-rich Tharparkar district has approved creation of Thar Foundation with the objective to develop social sector such as education, health, water supply and such other interventions.
He took this decision while presiding over a meeting to review Thar coal projects here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Education Iqbal Durani, Secretary Energy Agha Wasif, SECMC Chief Shamsuddin Shaikh, Commissioner Karachi Aijaz Khan and others.
The chief minister said that mining & power projects, the landscape of Thar has dramatically transformed from one of the most impoverished areas of Pakistan, Thar has now become a landmark of economic development and prosperity.
The chief minister said that Thar Block-II is the best option for future base load power plants. At optimal capacity, Thar Block-II has the potential to produce electricity at less than 5c/kWh. The chief minister was told that since April 2016, Thar coal price has increased by a mere 3.58 percent compared to an increase of more than 65 percent for imported fuels. The total foreign exchange annual savings of up to $1.6 billion and $1.2 billion against LNG and imported coal respectively.
It was pointed out that the projects being developed at Thar Block-II are compliant with national and international environmental guidelines. The chief minister said that he was keen to see people of Thar reaping the fruits of huge investment the Sindh government has made along with its private partners in Thar. He directed SECMC chief Shams Shaikh to start development works such as construction of schools, hospitals, water supply schemes through RO plants, upgradation of traditional villages into model villages.
He said that Islamkot taluka should be taken as a model taluka for development works. “Let us start from operationalizing closed schools and launching new schools, developing model villages with two-room houses with veranda and a proper kitchen and toilets,” he said and added that time has come to introduce people of Thar with modern way of living. The chief minister directed Public Health Engineering Department, Sindh Coal Authority to identify the RO plants which are either working below the capacity or have operational issues and hand over the same to Thar Foundation to operationalize. “Thar foundation would have a master plan for development of social sector,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah also directed concerned departments and SECMC, the Sindh government partner to jointly develop a plan to launch compensation scheme for the affectees of Gorano. “The Sindh government will give a grant of Rs900 million to Thar Foundation for community development and the royalty generated from mining and power generation would also be spent on social uplift in the area of Thar,” he said and added Thar Foundation would work in different areas such as education, health, human resource development, livelihood, infrastructure, drinking water, women empowerment, disaster management, culture and heritage and youth development.
The chief minister was told that the construction of Islamkot airport has been completed. The SECMC has also completed the construction of a hospital and out of nine, two school buildings are ready to inaugurate.
The chief minister said that these schemes would be inaugurated in the second week of April.