Hailing it as an example of bipartisan cooperation for a national objective, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday evening oversaw as the federation and Sindh province came together to sign an accord on extending the country’s train network to the all-critical coal mines in Sindh’s Thar.
Addressing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the Federal Railways Ministry, the federal government and the Sindh government, Prime Minister Shehbaz hoped the expansion of the rail link will ensure the smooth and efficient supply of coal to power plants and cement plants in different parts of the country.
He hoped it would save the government billions spent on importing costly fuel to meet local demand and ensure the supply of inexpensive power.
The prime minister further observed that what was ‘more significant is the display of the power of unity, national cohesion and national brotherhood, signifying our national identification’.
He hoped the plans would be implemented by March 2023, enabling the transportation of coal to all parts of the country.
Claiming that such projects were only pursued during the tenures of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari, Shehbaz lamented this practice was not continued during the PTI tenure.
“If it were pursued by the past government, Pakistan would not have faced such difficulties on the internal and external fronts,” he said and regretting that the economic shocks were severe.
“If the previous government had promoted unity amongst the provinces and the federal government, there would have been a positive change,” he added.
He said that Thar reserves were a treasure for the country, and according to an estimate, these were capable of producing millions of MW of power for the next 300 years.
Railways Minister Saad Rafique said it was encouraging to see the federal and provincial government’s come together.
He added that a rail link would be established by connecting the coal mines with Port Qasim, Jamshoro power plant and other power plants, thereby saving billions of dollars.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the Thar coal project was started during the 90s by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s government and then revived by the PPP provincial government.
He said Thar coal reserves were the future of Pakistan’s precious energy mix.
Earlier, the Sindh chief minister and minister for railways signed the documents in the presence of the prime minister and other federal ministers.