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Thar coal energy project: Thank you, President Zardari

Munno Bhai analyses a good news from Sindh:

Sindh cabinet approves Thar coal project to generate up to 1,000MW power
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
By By our correspondent

The Sindh Cabinet approved on Tuesday the Thar coal project for the generation of 600 to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity under public-private partnership. A draft bill to ban the use of old syringes was approved as well, Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri said while briefing journalists about the decisions taken by the Sindh Cabinet during its meeting on Tuesday.

The Cabinet also approved a draft bill to set up a medical university for women in district Benazirabad (formerly Nawabshah), a public-private partnership bill to launch the Keenjhar and Gorakh Hill projects and amendments in the Agriculture Act of 1939 to end the role of “middlemen”.

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah decided to lease 610 forest acres in district Thatta and upgrade the taluka Shahdadpur hospital. It also decided to control price-hike during Ramazan.

The cabinet was briefed about the killing of Rehman Baloch (alias Rehman Dakait) in an alleged police encounter by Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, as well as the public reaction to the killing.

Participants of the meeting hoped that Dakait’s death will help improve the law-and-order situation in the city, especially Lyari. The ministers condemned the Gojra incident in Punjab and observed a one-minute silence over the killings of Christians there.

Marri said that the Thar coal project was the joint Engro-Sindh government venture, under which 1.1 billion dollars will be spent for coal mining and 2.2 billion dollars for power generation.

She said that the feasibility report of the project will likely be completed within two years. In order to expedite the utilization of the coal reserves by providing infrastructure development, the construction of an airport was underway at Islamkot, while efforts were also being taken to lay railway lines there.

She said that the People’s Medical College in Benazirabad will be given the status of a medical university for women.

Pakistan invites Chinese company for gasification of coal in Sindh
Wednesday, 26 Aug 2009

APP reported that Mr Asif Ali Zardari president of Pakistan invited a private Chinese company to visit Pakistan and examine the possibility of coal gasification in Sindh for fertilizers manufacturing and power production.

In a meeting here with President of the company Mr Wang Shihong, he said that their venture in Pakistan will not only be beneficial to the company but also for Pakistan’s economy. The company will send its delegation next month to Pakistan in consultation with government of Sindh. It has already made coal gas plants in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and 6 other countries.

(Sourced from

Sovling energy crisis
Khalid Chandio
Energy provides personal comfort and mobility to people, and is essential for the generation of industrial, commercial and societal wealth. Energy is one of the important prerequisites for the economic development of any country. It has dual role i.e. it is used for the industrial and agricultural purposes and it is required for domestic use too. Pakistan is presently facing a serious energy crisis. Now, the demand exceeds supply and hence load shedding is being witnessed through frequent power shutdowns. She needs about 14000-15000MW electricity per day, and the demand is likely to rise to approximately 20,000 MW per day by 2010. Presently, it can produce about 11, 500 MW per day and thus there is a shortfall of about 3000-4000MW per day. This shortage is badly affecting industry, commerce and daily life of the people. The country needs a quantum jump in electricity generation in medium-term scenario to revert the possibilities of load shedding in future due to shrinking gap between demand and supply of electricity at peak hours.

Energy is a key factor for the stability and prosperity of Pakistan. If our production units keep on shutting down then unemployment will rise and hence street violence will get momentum. We have experienced a horrible power shut downs in Karachi, Lahore and other major cities of Pakistan where not only common people suffered but also our industries did suffer as most of the industries are based in major cities in Pakistan. Current economic scenario of Pakistan is already under intense pressure. On one hand it has the competitors like China and India giving cut throat fight and on the other hand it has continuous problem on its western borders draining its resources and causing political chaos. Serious energy shortage, massive load-shedding and lowest ever strategic oil reserves are emerging as major risk to the economy. One of the major problems facing the new government, the energy crisis, is intense, costly and multi-dimensional.

South Asia is important to world energy markets because it contains 1.3 billion people and is experiencing rapid energy demand growth. After India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the next largest South Asian countries in these categories. Economic and population growth in South Asia have resulted in rapid increases in energy consumption in recent years.

The major energy issues facing South Asian nations today are keeping up with rapidly rising energy demand. It is also projected that by the year 2010 South Asian countries shall be consuming more than double the current levels of primary commercial energy. India is already in the race of acquiring energy from any part of the world and her thirst for energy culminated in singing of Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Technology. China’s energy-hungry economy has now focused on Africa; the world’s poorest continent emerging as an important global source of oil and gas attracting competing interest from Europe, Russia and Asia. China has also developed much warmer relations with Saudi Arabia. Now the question is why Pakistan is dormant and sitting idle in not having some sort of inter-regional and intra-regional arrangements for energy security.

It is a high time that Pakistan must restructure its energy policy. Instead of many agencies one central ministry ought to look after the energy issues in Pakistan. The dilemma is that over the years we have neglected other sources of energy i.e. coal, wind, solar etc. Take coal for example, Pakistan has the 7th largest coal reserve in the world (in Thar area- Sindh) but it is very unfortunate to know that it currently plays a minor role in Pakistan’s energy mix. Coal is one of the cheapest ways to produce electricity, and that is why countries like Australia produce 77% of their electricity from coal. Coal must be tapped as soon as possible.

The only argument for not going coal is put forward that it causes pollution but recently, thanks to technology, work is being done to make it as pollution free as possible. This project would not only help overcome un-employment but also bring prosperity and development in the area. And mind it that Thar is one of the poorest regions of Sindh. So, by initiating this project means development of Thar. The bureaucratic hurdles should be removed and the project must be started otherwise the future generation might not forgive us. The present government headed by Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) both in Federal and Sindh has shown much interest in developing electricity through coal as it is the duty of the sitting government to ensure indiscriminate load shedding. Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline should also get materialized as it not only guarantees energy but this project would also bring three countries much closer to each other. Because it is generally believed that trade brings prosperity and prosperity brings well being of the rank and file and these common people might become agents of change.

The other area that needs our attention is the wind energy and Pakistan is blessed with a large resource of wind corridor. So, the government should never hesitate by initiating this type of project. One area that needs our attention is to emphasize the conservation of energy. We have to persuade all the concerned that all possible measures be taken to save energy. Energy efficient plants and machines are the recipe for our survival. The campaign for initiating awareness by using efficient household appliances to mitigate energy crisis is needed. Because, energy conservation is indeed energy production.

Pakistan is facing acute shortage of energy and this would also be a wise decision to focus on nuclear energy which is renewable, cheap and environment free. The situation demands an urgent decision. A decision which is vital for the safety, stability and survival of Pakistan.

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • “Dirty Thar Coal Versus Environment Friendly Kalabagh Dam in Pakistan
    & South Asia”.

    • It is very strange to note that present Government of Pakistan is advocating for Air Polluting Thar Coal Project Versus Environmental Friendly Kalabagh Dam.

    • Kalabagh dam which will increase the water resources of the country is being opposed while Thar coal project, which will consume huge amount of water and will contaminate all water, air and land resources of Pakistan is being advocated by the government.

    • Clean electricity produced by Kalabagh dam will be available to every citizen of the country while Thar coal project will pollute all water, air and land resources of not only of Pakistan but also of neighbouring countries like India and China.

    • Thar coal will effect each and every living organism while environment friendly Kalabagh will not only store water for the cultivation of land , but also will produce clean energy without carbon emmision, by that electricity it will be possible to pump out under ground water which will also increase water resources and will store water for cultivation of land, Kalabagh Dam will increase wet land for fisheries, will increase green land which will be helpful in decreasing environmental carbon dioxide produce by coal and other fuels and will control flooding and erosion of land and will save lives and lands of people.

    • Coal is one of the most polluting sources of energy available, jeopardizing our health and our environment. While Kalabagh Dam will have multiple advantages and will act as clean electricity power house, Sweet water reservoir and floods controller all these things will improve fertility of lands, will reduce poverty and will increase food production.

    The Effects of Coal on the Environment.
    Coal as a source of energy is probably the most environmentally damaging of
    all the traditional sources of energy.
    • One must keep in mind that a typical power coal plant generates 3 million tons of CO2 or 17 tons of carbon per megawatt and draws about 2.3 billion gallons of water per annum from nearby source while on land coal produces mercury which not only renders water useless for human consumption but also for irrigation purpose as well.

    • “Coal Power in a Warming World” by Barbara Freese et al, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists in October 2008 states that “The underground mining of coal is a dangerous profession, and underground and surface mining are both highly damaging to landscapes, water supplies, and ecosystems”.

    • The Natural Resources Defense Council paper entitled “Coal in a Changing Climate”, issued in February 2007 claims that “Coal mining—and particularly surface or strip mining—poses one of the most significant threats to terrestrial habitats in the United States.”

    • Figures from “Key World Energy Statistics: 2008″ show that coal is responsible for 42% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

    • “Coal in a Changing Climate” shows that coal produces large amounts of airborne toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxides, arsenic and lead.

    • Coal is a highly polluting energy source. It emits much more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and natural gas. CO2 represents the major portion of greenhouse gases. It is, therefore, one of the leading contributors to climate change.

    • From mine to sky, from extraction to combustion — coal pollutes every step of the way. The huge environmental and social costs associated with coal usage make it an expensive option for developing countries.

    • Coal mining is responsible for acid drainage from coal mines, polluting rivers and streams, to the release of mercury and other toxins when it is burned, as well as climate-destroying gases and fine particulates that wreak havoc on human health, COAL is unquestionably, a DIRTY BUSINESS.

    South Asia.

    On one side China and India are planning to curb the Carbon emission by curbing the use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels, and Bangladesh and Maldives are crying for taking measures against rise of seas due to global warming and melting of glaciers and on other side Government of Pakistan is planning to use Thar coal which will not only cause global warming but also pollute the whole environment of South Asia but in fact will endanger the life of 3 Billion peoples living in China, India, Kashmir, Northern areas, NWFP, PUNJAB and Sindh, as the direction of smoke and dangerous gases will be from east to north west of Pakistan. And people of these areas will suffer from respiratory diseases such as Asthma, Bronchitis, Cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and people of these areas will suffer from dangers and adverse effects of smoking without smoking the cigarettes.

    Government of Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned for sinking delta dwellers people of Bangladesh and Island dweller people of Maldives under sea by wasting about 10 Million Acres feet water of River Indus from the catchments area of whole of Pakistan in the sea and is not preserving and storing that water in dams like Kalabagh and Basha, on one side people of Pakistan are suffering from acute wastage of water and electricity and on other side Government is wasting sweet water in the sea which is not only causing sea rise and erosion of coastal land for whole of subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Maldives but is also harmful for saline habitat fishes and saline and sea plants like Mangroves

    Countering Rise in Sea level and Global Warming.

    Global Warming:
    For countering global warming there is need to completely restrict use of coal for any purpose and to minimize other fossils fuels such as oil and gas and use of alternatives resources such as wind, solar and water power by means of dams like Kalabagh and Basha Dams in Pakistan should be encouraged and preferred.

    Rise in Sea Level.
    For countering rise in sea level following measures should be taken to save and to protect from submerging the people of Bangladesh, Maldives and other Island dwellers under sea.

    • All the rain and glaciers water on land should be preserved and stored in reservoirs and dams like Kalabagh and other dams for use on land( For Agriculture, Electricity generation and human consumption) and other purposes so that no water should waste in sea which will ultimately cause the rise in sea level.
    • In Coastal areas use of sea water should be increased as much as possible for Industrial and agricultural purposes.

    • After desalination and Purification Sea water should be use for human consumption as much as possible.

    • Wastage of sweet water and fertile silt in sea should be prevented and should be used for fertilization and irrigation of land and other useful purposes.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as exploration of silt and stones from sea towards land and coastal areas.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as exploration of sea salts for use as chemicals and other purposes.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as sea plants such as algae and fishes to decrease the volume of sea so that rise in sea could be countered by each and every mean available.

    Already Polluted Atmosphere of South Asia.

    South Asia is already suffering from the adverse effects of Brown cloud(Accumulation of Dirty gases in upper atmosphere of Subcontinent and is having negative effects on the health of population of India and Pakistan , Moreover there is already shortage of Ozone gas in the upper atmosphere of South Asia, due to which people of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ) are not having perfect healthy bodies as compared to other races of the world, .In view of such a bad condition of atmosphere burning the coal is just like to throw the people of Pakistan into valley of death, where as there already so many poor workers are daily dying in the coal mines of Balouchistan, but no one is having any care about those poor workers.

    There are a number of adverse environmental effects of coal mining and burning, especially the glaciers of the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan contribute significantly to the stream flow of the Indus Basin. More significantly, during the dry season these glaciers become the system’s only source. Impacts due to climate change on these glaciers have been studied in recent decades and vivid fluctuation of water flow in the Indus River Basin System has been reported.
    Due to flow of toxic gases and smoke from Thar Coal towards North and Western Pakistan, It is the responsibility of Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Areas, NWFP, Punjab and Sindh Governments to review the adverse effects of Thar coal as it is the matter of life and death of the people of these areas. As unhealthy environment due to smoke and toxic gases will destroy the beauty of land of Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan and will cause health problems such as cancer, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory and genetic diseases due to environmental pollution in the people of Punjab, NWFP, Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. Thar coal will destroy the fertility of land and will pollute the water resources of the country.

    It is the responsibility of Governments of China ,India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Kashmir and Provinces of Pakistan to persuade Federal government of Pakistan not to use Dirty coal while many dams may be constructed for generation of clean energy in Pakistan like Kalabagh and Basha Dam, it is necessary as government of Pakistan is wasting its only Indus River sweet water( 10 Million Acres Feet Water )in the sea while on the other side common people of Pakistan are suffering from the thirst and hunger due to shortage of water and electricity.
    Written By:M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI.
    Karachi, Pakistan.