Recognizing local’s rights over natural resources is unprecedented: Sindh Chief Minister

Tharparkar, September 12, 2017 (PPI-OT): Terming it an unprecedented policy for first time in the history of Pakistan, Sindh Government on Tuesday announced that the project affectees of Thar Coal Block II has been made shareholders from the profits of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). Along with making direct affectees of Thar Coal II shareholders, it was also announced that the concern population of Gorano and DukarCho reservoir scheme will also get decent compensation package for the period of 30 years.

This was announced by Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah during a 50 percent completion ceremony of the mining and power projects underway at Thar Coal Field’s Block II. The Thar Coal Project, undertaken by SECMC, a public-private partnership body in which the Sindh Government holds its 54 percent shares. Engro Powergen Thar Limited have also achieved 50% completion four months ahead of the schedule.

“We will be able to reach at the coal reserves by June 2019,” said CM Sindh adding that the project will start generating electricity in June 2019. “History will bear witness to the future generations that the peoples’ government of Sindh is the first to pull the country out of the energy crisis, and Thar coal project is the harbinger of a better economic future of Pakistan,” Shah expressed proudly.

Unprecedented in the history of the country, CM Sindh also announced a scheme to make the indigenous communities shareholders. The chief minister said that with the establishment of Thar Coal Mining project around 1700 population of the area of Thar Coal Block-II have been affected. “We have already managed to provide them shelter, a separate house to each affected couple, with all the basic facilities of quality education, best health care services, safe drinking water, and sanitation,” he said and added a mosque and temple are being constructed there to practice their respective faiths.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that each family [affected] of Thar Coal Block II would receive at least Rs100,000 share each year and the amount would be kept on increasing. “We have provided jobs to the affected families in the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and even women of the area have been employed there,” he said.

“The concerned population of Gorano and Dukarcho scheme will also get a decent compensation package for 30 years along with health, education and drinking water facilities. Speaking during the ceremony, SECMC’s Chief Operating Officer, Shamsuddin Ahmad Shaikh said, “the mine of Thar Block-II with 1 X 1.6-kilometer area is the largest mine in the country. The company has removed over burden from the mine and has reached the depth of 90-meter deep. It means that 50 percent work has been completed, he said.

“For us as a company, the development of country through this project is aligned with the prosperity of the area. The project, for me, loses its meaning the moment is trajectory is not in sync with the welfare of the people of the area,” Shaikh asserted.

“I personally take pride in the formation of Thar Foundation, a dedicated organization working solely for the socioeconomic benefits of the Thari People. From the platform of the Foundation, we are establishing a state-of-the-art 150-bed hospital at Islamkot, and three secondary level schools at Islamkot, Mithi, and the resettlement area with the support of TCF; whereas, three new primary school have already started to impart quality education in the villages Thahryo Helepoto, Mansigh Bheel, and Bitra of Block II.”

Shaikh added that it was their aim to make Islamkot, “a model taluka of Sindh in healthcare services.” President of Engro Corporation Limited, Ghias Khan speaking at the occasion said, “It is indeed heartening to witness the 50% completion of Pakistan’s first ever open pit coal mine and 2×330 MW coal fired power plant in Thar. I am really proud of Engro’s Management team under the leadership of Shamsuddin Shaikh who have achieved this milestone four months ahead of schedule and even more impressive that they have done it safely with no Lost Workday Injury!”

“Engro and Government of Sindh were the two original JV partners when SECMC was formed back in 2009 –and it took us 7 long years to develop this project which has been termed as a project of National and Strategic Importance – the entire nation realizes that Thar Coal is vitally important to Pakistan’s energy security.”

“Government of Sindh has been a great partner for us and let me very clearly state that dealing with Government of Sindh on Thar Coal Project has been completely transparent, fair and based on merit which are also the hallmarks of Engro.

“I also want to thank all the other sponsors, Hubco, HBL, House of Habib, CMEC, SPIM, Liberty for their confidence in Engro’s management in leading this project. On behalf of Engro, I congratulate SECMC and EPTL on achieving this great milestone and I eagerly look forward to seeing the Realization Dream of Thar Coal Inshallah by June 2019,” Khan said.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019 (Ext: 336)

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