Thar coal to be linked with PQ thru rail system
The government has decided to link Thar coal and Port Qasim (PQ) with Pakistan Railways network through Rs 58.240 billion project in order to provide bulk transportation facilities as per requirement of the economy.
Sources said that the PC-I of the project has been prepared and is expected to be approved soon. They added that the total project cost of Rs 58.240 billion would be financed through Public Sector Development Programme and Annual Development Plan on equal cost sharing basis.
The project comprises construction of 105-kolometer long track including 24.58-kilometer loop-line new single line railway track infrastructure from Thar Coal mines to new Chhor Station and;(ii) construction of 18-kilometer long new double line track (9-Kilometer on each side), includes 4.20-kilometer long loop-lines, from Bin Qasim railway station to Port Qasim.
The construction of seven railway stations along the railway route with 14 platforms are in the scope of the work of the project, and of seven stations, two major stations would be established at Thar coal mines and new Chhor station, respectively. And five intermediate stations would be established between two major stations.
The electricity infrastructure such as provision of grid power (at major stations), on-site generation set and solar power (at intermediate stations) will be provided to supply power to the equipment at stations. In order to protect the track against flash flooding during the seasonal and extreme rainfall, intermittent culverts will be provided to allow flow of floodwater across the track.
The main objective of this project is to connect Thar Coal mines and Port Qasim with Pakistan Railways (PR) network through New Rail Links and is aligned with the sectoral objectives by providing bulk transportation facilities according to the requirement of the growing economy. The proposed project falls under the category of Infrastructure Development.
The project has been designed to provide reliable and efficient railway infrastructure to break the geographical barriers of Thar coal and enable its transportation across the country and to provide environment friendly mode of coal transportation. If transported through railway, the environmental pollution will be minimal besides reducing traffic congestion on roads.
The project to enable utilization of indigenous Thar coal to bring import bill in line with the pillar of Pakistan Vision 2025 and enable expansion of Thar coal to rationalize fuel cost thus bringing reduction in the cost of production of electricity besides ensuring uplift of local populace of Tharparkar through generation of royalty and job creation.
The coal demand in Pakistan is mainly driven by two major sectors, i.e., Power Sector and Cement industry. The demand of coal will further increase due to upcoming capacity additions in both Power and Cement sector. With successful commercial operation of indigenous coal power plant in Thar coal fields, it is imperative the growing coal demand should be met through Thar coal to displace imported coal. Such initiatives have already been noticed where upcoming coal-based power capacity addition is being designed on Thar coal.