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Turning affectees into beneficiaries

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is an entity which seeks to alleviate the energy crisis in the Country by utilizing indigenous coal resources in Tharparkar while at the same time, aims to develop its communities and preserve the natural physical and social fabric of the area and ensure that the region benefits from the Project. The project loses its meaning the moment its trajectory is not in sync with the welfare of the people in that area.

The mine having coal deposits of 2.4 billion tons of Thar Block-II spread across 100 square kilometers is the largest mine in the country. SECMC started overburden removal an April 2016 and has reached a depth of 94 meters. Achieving this milestone the company has achieved 50 percent project progress, four months ahead of schedule. Engro Powergen Thar Limited (EPTL), which is constructing a 2×330 MWs power plant, has also achieved 50 percent completion ahead of the schedule.

The Thar Coal Mining Project is undertaken by SECMC, a Public-Private Partnership body in which the Sindh Government holds its 54 percent shares. In an unprecedent move for the first time in the history of Pakistan, Government of Sindh has recently announced to make the project affectees of Thar Coal Block II shareholders of the Company giving them a share in the profits of SECMC. Each family [affected] of the Thar Coal Block-II would receive at least Rs. 100,000 per year. The policy also includes compensation payments for any affected population of Gorano and DukarCho reservoir Scheme for a period of 30 years.

The Thar Foundation (TF) is a dedicated organization working solely for the socioeconomic benefits of the Thari People. TF is establishing a state-of-the-art, 250-bed hospital at Islamkot, and three schools at Islamkot, Mithi, and the resettlement area with the support of The Citizens Foundation. One TCF school in Islamkot has already become functional, whereas, three new primary schools have already started to impart quality education in the villages of Thahryo Helepoto, Mansigh Bheel, and Bitra of Block II to 580 children in the area.

TF is also carrying out substantial work on all development fronts including education, livelihood, health, social and cultural preservations, infrastructure and disaster management. Thar Trainee Engineers Program, Thar Associate Engineering Program, the Women Dump Truck Driving Program, Khushaal Thar Livelihood Program, Marvi Clinic, Bio-Saline Agriculture and a number of other programs and projects are ongoing.

Despite the contractual requirement to start CSR work after earning profits i.e. from June 2019, the company has already invested millions of rupees on different initiatives. So far, SECMC and EPTL through TF have launched development schemes and social upliftment programs worth Rs. 4.5 billion. Some of the schemes have been completed, while construction on some others is underway at various stages of development.

History will bear witness to the future generations that SECMC and EPTL have contributed greatly to pull the country out of the energy crisis, and Thar Coal Project is the harbinger of a better economic future for Pakistan and the people of Thar.

Reporter. Turning affectees into beneficiaries. The Nation, October 5, 2017.

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