SC orders probe into Thar coal power project

Project records to be handed over to NAB prosecutor general and Salman Akram Raja


Hasnaat Malik October 11, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a probe into the failure of Thar coal power project initiated by Dr Samar Mubarakmand.

Defending his position, Mubarakmand said the project was under the provincial government and began receiving funding from the federal government in 2012. By 2015, despite spending more than Rs3.2 billion on the project, it was only generating 8MW of electricity.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered for an investigative committee to be set up to conduct an audit of the project. The bench also instructed for all project records to be handed over to senior lawyer Salman Akram Raja and the prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The case has been adjourned for a week.

With zero allocation, Thar project close to being left high and dry

In 2016, The Express Tribune reported a sharp reduction in the project's funds in fiscal year 2015-16 and zero allocation for the 2016 budgetary year and that the government’s much-touted Thar underground coal gasification (UGC) project had been left high and dry.


With its promising power generation capability remaining far from being harnessed, the employees after having worked for several years confronted the outlook of either continuing their jobs without pay or being laid-off.

“We are left with hardly enough funds to manage salary payment for two months,” Dr Muhammad Shabbir, managing director of the project, told The Express Tribune.


The federal budget for 2016-17 did not allocate funds for the project. In the 2015-2016 financial year, only Rs300 million, from Rs1.2 billion earmarked for the project were released, according to the MD.

Mubarakmand clarified that at the time the government had not formally conveyed that the project was being shelved.

The pilot power production of 8MW began in May 2015. But the project’s commercial production of 100MW, as per the original plan, had not obtained the government’s nod of approval.

 

Around 250 people were employed in the project at the time and a majority of them lived in the project’s colony in Islamkot taluka of Tharparkar district. A sum of up to Rs17 million was being spent on the salaries, in addition to expenses on running the generation plants, residential colony and meeting other expenditures.

 

COMMENTS (2)

Sandip | 2 years ago | Reply One father of the bomb is so great that he calls the laws of thermodynamics all nonsense. Another father of the bomb is unable to even run a coal gassification plant. If this is the condition of the fathers of the bomb, one wonders what bomb they have produced. Lol!
Engr.Amir Sultan Rana | 3 years ago | Reply Nib down the accountable's. This is not fair. These profit making projects are de-accelerating. Not good for Pakistan economy. Kindly make all involve accountable. Its important. Kindly do as I am saying. We are here to formalize the system. Inshallah, we will make it better and prosper for our country Pakistan. I suggest you one more thing. Kindly take details of all other power plants too. Take their efficiency and details checked. Very important. Make a comprehensive plan for coming 30-40 years for Pakistan Power Plants... Kindly involve all top notch engineers and analysts to solve the issue of electricity too. Best of luck Pakistan.
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