Linking Thar coal mines with railways to usher in an era of economic revolution: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said that a memorandum of understanding between the ministry of railways and Sindh government to link Thar coal mine reserves with the railways system would ensure its efficient transportation and help generate inexpensive power.

Addressing an MoU signing ceremony between Ministry of Railways, Government of Pakistan and Government of Sindh with regards to the connectivity of Thar coal to the existing network of Pakistan Railways, the prime minister said through an expansion of an efficient railway network, supply from the coal mines would be ensured to the coal-fired power plants and other related plants like cement manufacturing units.

It would save billions of rupees spent annually on the import of costly coal to meet the requirements of the energy sector, he said, expressing the hope that the project would play an important role in the supply of inexpensive power.

The prime minister further observed that on the occasion whatever was ‘more significant is the display of the power of unity, of national cohesion and national brotherhood, signifying our national identification’.

He said the federal and Sindh governments came togethter to ink the MoU and expressed the hope that it would be implemented by March 2023, enabling the transportation of coal to all parts of the country.

The prime minister terming the project as harbinger of economic revolution across the country, said such development ventures were pursued during the tenures of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

If it was pursued by the past government, Pakistan would not have faced such difficulties at the internal and external fronts, he said and regretted that economic shocks were severe.

If the previous government had promoted unity among the provinces and the federal government, there would be a change, he added.

The prime minister expressed that however, it was never too late to mend and mentioned that the signing of the MoU was a testament to a living nation and stressed that they needed to move above their personal likes and dislikes and serve the country.

He said that Thar reserves were a treasure for the country and according to an estimate, these were capable of producing millions of MW power for the next 300 years.

It would ease out the burden on the foreign reserves as the country was importing costly coal and spending billions of rupees each year, he added.

Minister for Railways Saad Rafique, on the occasion, said that it was a historic day as the MoU would pave way for Thar coal link connectivity.

He said that it was encouraging that the federal government and the provincial government agreed to participate and generate funds for the project despite the current difficulties.

The minister said Thar coal reserves were among the world’s ranking and would meet the country’s requirements.

He said that 105 kms green link connecting the coal mines with Port Qasim, Jamshoro power plant and other power plants would save billions of dollars.

He further assured that they would strive to complete the project in the earliest, adding that its initial cost was estimated at Rs55 billion, but they would work over cost-cutting.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that Thar coal project was started during 90s by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s government and then revived by the PPP provincial government.

He said Thar coal reserves were a future and precious energy source of Pakistan.

He assured that the provincial government fully owned this project and it would produce low-priced power than anything else.

Earlier, Sindh chief minister and minister for railways signed the documents in the presence of the prime minister and other federal ministers.

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