Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Thar coal plant
Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, inspects the new Thar coal-based power plant in Tharparkar after its opening. Image Credit: Sindh government

Karachi: The second Thar coal-based power generation plant having a capacity to produce 330 megawatts of electricity for the country has been launched in Tharparkar under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Construction of the project having a cost of $520 million started in May 2018 and closed in January 2020. The completion of the project was delayed due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and delay in the release of financing by foreign lenders.

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, inaugurated the project to synchronise its power production with the national grid.

The project is likely to start its full commercial operations by the end of the current month. With the launch of the new power plant, 990 MWs of Thar coal-based electricity is being produced to overcome the power shortfall in the country.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the CM said the launch of the project was the materialisation of the dream of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who had envisioned the use of indigenous coal reserves for cheap electricity production.

He said that his government had always given prime importance to Thar coal as its exploitation could ensure the energy security of Pakistan.

He said that consumption of Thar coal could ensure uninterrupted electric supply to the power consumers all over the country with a decrease in their electricity bills.

Shah told the audience that the extraction of Thar coal for power production had the potential to save massive foreign exchange as its cost was two to three times cheaper than the imported coal.

He said the Sindh government was the shareholder in the initial project of coal mining in Thar.

He assured the audience that his government would provide the full support to all the mining and power generation companies working in the Thar area.

He said the Sindh government had built modern road infrastructure, water supply project and an airfield in Thar to speed up the mining and power production projects.

The CM said the coal extraction and power production in the Thar area had also transformed the lives of local destitute people who were being given employment, education, health care, and skill learning facilities.

He said his government had been working with the federal authorities for establishing a rail link for speedy transportation of Thar coal to the rest of the country for energy production.