Differences between the members of Planning Commission (PC) in the Thar Coal Project have been emerged, which may lead to jeopardize the pace of on-going development work.

The project is believed to be a vital home-grown resource to meet the energy requirements of the country.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand, the Thar Coal Project chief, alleged that the Planning Commission started opposing the project declaring it unfeasible.

He said that funding has been stopped when his team had successfully gasified coal and was about to enter the power generation phase.

He, however, said the Thar Coal Project was still on and his team was determined to provide cheap electricity to the energy-starved country.

Pakistan is facing prolonged loadshedding and outages of up to 18 hours a day have badly hit not only the industrialists but commoners too. Until the government releases the funds, the problem will persist.

Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, who was an important member of the scientists’ team that made Pakistan a nuclear power in 1998, is now working on a project to generate electricity from the Thar coal, whose reserves have been estimated at 175 billion tonnes.

According to the scientist, the reserves are sufficient to produce 50,000MW electricity and 100 million barrel of diesel for 500 years.

He is trying to convert the coal into gas before using it as a source for electricity, since using coal directly for power generation is costlier and will also have adverse impact on environment. Scientists and technologists of other countries are commending the indigenously-developed technology, which is being used for the purpose.

The project requires some $6 billion but the resource-starved country cannot afford to spare so much money. However, Dr. Samar claimed that he would return the project if he was given the initial cost.

According to his claim, the country would get the cheapest electricity if his project was allowed to continue working.

This will cost a dollar a watt, compared to $2.3 for hydel, $2.7 for wind, $3.2 for solar and $3.5 for nuclear energy. He said he would require a period of six-year to produce 6, 000MW electricity from Thar Coal Project.

Power projects had not been planned in time to meet the growing requirements of all sectors which is why the country is facing severe power crisis, he added.

He regretted that the National Bank of Pakistan despite the directions of President Asif Ali Zardari had not released funds.