Engineering Post Report
Sindh has the biggest coal reserves at Thar which is now planned to be linked to Bin Qasim through a 105 kilometers long railway track aiming at connecting the coal mines to the national and global energy markets. The projected rail link is scheduled to span from Chorr to Islamkot ultimately connecting to Port Qasim, the deep sea port near Karachi.
The rail link estimated to cost Rs 58 billion is to be jointly financed by the federal government and Provincial Government of Sindh and likely to be completed by December 2024 depending much on when the work actually gets started and the federal and provincial governments come out with their share in this regard.
The project has only recently been approved by the federal government and as such not mentioned either in the PSDP 2023-24 nor in Annual Development Programmed (ADP) of Sind for the current financial year..
In view of the priority being attached at the appropriate high level for establishing the rail link with Thar coal reserves at the earliest, project called ” Thar Coal Rail Connectivity” was considered by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in its meeting in Islamabad in the first week of September 2023 and recommended it for consideration and approval by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at an estimated cost of Rs 55 billion. The project envisages, as per CDWP press release, to connect Thar coal reserves through rail link with existing railway network including the last mile connecting with Port Qasim.
The construction of the rail link, as and when completed and funded, will help in augmenting the contribution of cost effective coal based energy in Pakistan’s energy mix and also facilitate the supply of Thar coal to the fertilizer and cement factories.