Crisis to be overcome with coal reserves

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that the power crisis in the country would be resolved in a year-and-a-half by exploring and exploiting coal reserves and other cheaper sources of energy.

Addressing a press conference after attending the fifth meeting of the Thar Coal and Energy Board at the Chief Minister House, Ashraf hoped that the development of Thar coal reserves would help in overcoming the prevailing power crisis.

He said that the government had resolved issues concerning the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) including power purchase problems with the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

The minister said that there had been some improvement in KESCÂ’s performance while acknowledging that the distribution system of the power utility was very old and resulted in problems often.

Ashraf said that the KESC was facing the deadline of June 30, 2010, to revamp its electric supply system in 18 towns of the city. He said that the government has been monitoring the process of revamping the electricity system by the KESC.

Earlier, the board meeting decided that Block 5 of the Thar Coal Project would be allocated for underground gasification project as conceived by renowned scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand.

It was decided that the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) would work with the scientist on the project for expediting its early implementation. In the coming one-and-a-half-year, a 50 Megawatt (MW) pilot project is also expected to be completed. The minister said that power generation from the Thar coal reserves would commence soon. He said that the Asian Development Bank would provide assistance in carrying out a feasibility study for laying a 1200KVA HV DC line. In the first phase, 3000MW will be added which will be enhanced to 10,000MW in the later stages.

The PEPCO has been directed to complete the feasibility study of the project in three months.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who chaired the board meeting, said that so far the Lakhra coal was being sold and not used for power generation, but now a power plant would be set up on the Lakhra coal reserves for power generation.



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