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September 14, 2018

Employees of Thar Coal gasification ‘not being paid salaries


September 14, 2018

SUKKUR: The 450 employees of the Sindh Underground Coal Gasification Plant (UCGP) have not been paid salaries for the last three months, besides they have not been regularized either despite being in service for the last eight years. A group of workers led by Mohammad Ismail Boohar, Engineer Aftab Mojai, Engineer Safdar Memon and Hafiz Abdul Wahid recently met the media persons to highlight their issues and concerns.

They criticised the provincial Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh for lack of ownership and understanding of the Gassification Project located in Thar block V. An officer of the project, Hafiz Abdul Wahid said the energy minister told the UCGP delegation that the Sindh government is only facilitating the project, which was initiated and funded by the federal government. Contrary to it, Abdul Wahid said the project is both executed and run by the Sindh government, which also recruited the staff. He said the federal government, in one of their letters to the Sindh government, had communicated that their role is limited to providing the funds in accordance with the PC 1.

Another officer of the gasification project, Safdar Memon, said the Sindh government hired the staff by conducting interviews and giving advertisements in newspapers and has now ignored them.

They claimed that the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had directed the secretary energy in May 2018 to examine the issue of non regularization and non payment of salaries and put up the case but even then no action was taken. They deplored that no one was taking any serious interest to address their plight.

The gasification project was launched in 2009 for producing gas from the coal reserves on an experimental basis and it achieved the target in 2011. Thereafter, a 100MW project was approved costing Rs 9 billion, but till now only 33 per cent of the allocated funds have been released. According to Memon, the project is producing power but both the federal and provincial governments are neither purchasing power from it nor releasing funds to fully operationalise the project. They demanded appropriate measures to save the Rs4 billion project, besides addressing the issues of the 450 employees working there for the last eight years.

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