KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to form a committee to speed up infrastructure schemes related to the Thar Coal project.
This decision was made at a meeting, presided over by Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Qaim Ali Shah, at Chief Minister House on Saturday.
The committee will comprise the following provincial ministers: Minister for Agriculture Syed Ali Nawaz Shah, Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister for Irrigation and Power Jam Saifullah Dharejo, Adviser to Sindh CM on Planning and Development Dr Kaiser Bengali, Coal and Energy Development Department (C&EDD) Secretary Aijaz Ali Khan, who will also act as the committee secretary.
The Government of Sindh will allocate Rs10 billion every year for the next five years for the infrastructure schemes, the participants were informed.
The committee will approach the federal government to provide this grant so that the schemes are completed without delays.
The committee will also approach the relevant federal ministers to expedite approvals required for these schemes.
Besides government financing, a campaign will be launched to seek international financing for infrastructure development. The first such conference will be held in China.
It was suggested during the meeting that the federal government may establish a cell at the Ministry of Water and Power to expedite the processing of Thar Coal infrastructure projects in the shortest possible time.
Engro President Asad Umar along with Engro Power CEO General Khalid Mansoor informed the meeting that a detailed Bankable Feasibility Study was completed by internationally renowned consultants on August 31, this year.
The technical, environment and social viability of the project have been confirmed and they meet the standards set by all international lenders, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, said Mansoor, adding that they need to build the infrastructure to meet other deadlines of the project.
It was decided that the block allocation of Rs8 billion in the Annual Development Plan (ADP) for the year 2010 and 2011, earmarked for Thar Coal development, will be distributed to critical infrastructures schemes.
Out of this, Rs4 billion will be allocated to investment and planning for the Makhi-Farsh water supply scheme, Rs2 billion for effluent drainage scheme and Rs2 billion for the laying of transmission lines.
During his briefing, Sindh Coal and Energy Development Secretary Ajaz Ali Khan said that the feasibility report for 300-cusec water supply schemes has been approved by Pakistan Development Working Party in July this year.
Consultants have been mobilised to prepare feasibilities for effluent disposal, to broaden the gauge of the railway link and upgrade roads, he said.
The chief minister commended the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company for completing the detailed feasibility within eight months.
It was decided that Rs2 billion, allocated in the year 2010-11 for the coal fund, shall be transferred to the Fund Management House so that it can be secured later and transferred to the mining project.
Shah agreed that coal-related projects and ADP schemes will be exempted from the policy of a 50 per cent proposed cut.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2010.
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