Sahiwal coal power project: Power to people

Shanzay Minhel Mustafa - Known to all is the fact that Pakistan holds a great strategic, political, geographical, economical and organizational importance in the global sphere and as a matter of a futuristic approach, Pakistan has long been known as one such country which is rich in terms of its natural resources and all the positive aspects attached to this fact. Owing to yet another fact that Punjab is that province of Pakistan which is economically highly important, the Government of Pakistan together with the Punjab Government under the supervision of the prime minister and Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif (CM Punjab), Sahiwal Coal Power Project was initiated.
The Sahiwal Coal Power Project, which is a part of CPEC, is located 15 kilometers to the north-east of Sahiwal and is currently under construction. The project initially includes two 66MW with a combined capacity of 1320MW in the first phase. To add to the excitement, two other plants of 100MW capacity are also expected. But wait, there’s more. The project not only includes the construction of such cost effective, environment friendly power generation plants but also the construction of a railway link originating from the village of Yusuf Wala. All Pakistan and the international community are all very well acquainted with the current government’s strategic and systematic futuristic, forward moving approach. The government is well reputed because of the fact that it is popular due to its other successfully running and beneficial projects.
Chaudhry Abdul Qayyum, who is heading an important Coal Mining Project in Thar, exclaimed that China produces more than 2/3 of its electricity from coal, which is very effectively fulfilling the requirements of the second biggest economy of the world. As per the International Energy Agency (IEA) report of the year 2015, traditional coal-based economies like China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and South Korea will keep utilizing coal as a power fuel in future because of itsabundance for the next 300 years or more. The report also said that coal consumption will reach 9 billion tons/year by 2019. Experts, today, argue that coal based power plants are not injurious to health anymore because of the modern technologies which include fuel saving boilers that are supposed to minimize the emission of greenhouse gas effect. The Environmental Protection Department (EPA) has granted a No Objection Certificate (NOC) which further assures the reliability of the project. It is also to be noted here that the coal found in Pakistan’s own Thar Coal Field was found unsuitable for the purpose of a fast pace power project because it contains excessive amounts of Sulfur and Lime.
The Sahiwal Coal Power Project is likely to start operating by the end of the year 2017. To the question of the project’ s possible harmful effects to the natural environment, farms or residents of the city, the company officials who are in charge of the project assured that it would produce less emissions, as the chimneys would be built 180 meter high to ensure safe emissions of gases. In light of which, the court positively vacated the stay. As per the company officials, it will be producing and selling electricity for the next 30 years after the project starts operating on the basis of BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) before handling over the project to the Punjab Government. This mega project which is built over a thousand acres of land has already employed over 3,000 workers including 1,000 Chinese workers. Only recently, President Mamnoon Hussain quoted that, “Pakistan looks forward to the import of 1000MW electricity on fast track basis.” This he said on the occasion when MoU’s were signed between Turkmenistan and Pakistan to curb terror financing.
Consequently, the need of the hour is to recognize as to how the Sahiwal Power Project is going to benefit Pakistan. The first and foremost benefit to the people that is most evident when any such initiative is taken is that it provides a lot of employment opportunities to the people. More specifically, the people of the respective city and its adjoining cities will benefit from the project because of its ever so bulging demand among the masses. As a matter of common sense and as a matter of worldwide accepted economic aspects, this project would be able to bring more business into the country which will ultimately prove to be a fruitful addition into the economic environment of the country. we are all aware of the fact that when something as big as the Sahiwal Power Project is initiated and then acted upon, such endeavors are always able to engage more and more people and then integrate them in such a manner that even new branches of possibilities and opportunities are extended. This is indeed remarkably undeniable. Moreover, people will be able to look forward to a better standard of living which in turn will create a better sense of understanding in the people of their own requirements and new solutions to old problems.
Plus, the demand of power generation in Pakistan is expected to rise by 50% by the year 2025 according to NTDLC planning departments forecasting. Hence, Pakistan is in dire need of many such projects that are relatively cheaper and cost effective. After examination, it was found that the air quality in Sahiwal is also better than all the other urban cities of Pakistan. As another plus point, the project has been designed and engineered in such a manner that it will not have any adverse effects on the overall environment, human lives, vegetation (crops), or any kind of infrastructure. In this era, when global warming is no longer an emerging but an evident issue, more than 40% of the world’s energy depends upon the Coal Power Plants spreading globally as a means of reliable and affordable energy because it is believed that it is a sustainable source. Furthermore, the construction of the railway link originating from the village Yusuf Wala will also contribute to providing a long term commercial activity to Pakistan Railways owing to the transportation of coal. Not only this, but these infrastructural developments will also pave the way for foreign investments.Already internationally, there are huge power plants having a capacity of over and around 3500-5500 MW power generation. These countries include, China, India, Poland, Taiwan, U.K, Germany, South Africa and many others.
Conclusively, with so many benefits at the expense of not a single drawback to the people at large, this project that is already underway will boost the geographic importance of the city. The Government of Punjab, with such lucrative initiatives, has been able to take Pakistan to a level where it is now able to compete with other countries and regions and setting an example of steadfastness, perseverance, and dedication.We are all aware of the adverse situation of the energy crisis faced by Pakistan in the name of a severe power shortage which can only be curbed if new ways of generating electricity are put to work. In this scenario, the Sahiwal Coal Power Project is surely a beacon of hope along with similar other projects.

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