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CM Sindh establishes foundation for social uplift of Thar

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in order to develop coal-rich Tharparkar district on Wednesday approved creation of Thar Foundation to develop social sectors such as education, health, water supply and other amenities. 

The chief minister while presiding over a meeting to review Thar coal projects said that mining and power projects have dramatically transformed the landscape of Thar from one of the most impoverished areas of Pakistan, and have now become a landmark of economic development and prosperity.

He announced that Sindh government will provide a grant of Rs900 million to Thar Foundation for community development and the royalty generated from mining and power generation would also be spent on social uplift in the area.

“Thar foundation would have a master plan for development of social sector,” said CM Sindh said adding that he was keen to see people of Thar reaping the fruits of investment the Sindh government has made along with private partners.

He added that Thar Foundation would work in different areas such as education, health, human resource development, livelihood, infrastructure, drinking water, women empowerment, disaster management, culture and heritage, and youth development.

CM Sindh said that Thar Block-II is the best option for future baseload power plants, and at optimal capacity has the potential to produce electricity at less than 5c/kWh. It was pointed out that the projects being developed at Thar Block-II are compliant with national and international environmental guidelines.

He was informed that since April 2016, Thar coal price has increased by a mere 3.58 percent compared to an increase of more than 65 percent for imported fuels. The total foreign exchange annual savings are up $1.6 billion and $1.2 billion against LNG and imported coal respectively.

He directed Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) chief Shams Shaikh to start development works such as construction of schools, hospitals, water supply schemes through RO plants, and upgrade traditional villages into model villages.

He said that Islamkot should be taken as a model taluka for development works, and that time has come to introduce people of Thar with modern way of living. He called on reopening closed schools, launching new schools, and developing model villages.

The chief minister directed Public Health Engineering Department and Sindh Coal Authority to identify RO plants either working below capacity or have operational issues and hand them over to the Thar Foundation.

CM Sindh also directed concerned departments and SECMC to jointly develop a plan to launch compensation scheme for Gorano affectees.

He was informed that the construction of Islamkot airport has been completed. The SECMC has also completed the construction of a hospital and out of nine, two school buildings are ready, which the chief minister said would be inaugurated in the second week of April.

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