KARACHI, (Pakistan Point News - 04th Nov, 2016 ) : The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) has reiterated its commitment to provide socioeconomic opportunities to the people of Thar- specifically the communities that host the Thar coal project. A statement said on Friday that in the recent past there have been some reports of protests by some members of the community, but the Company is hopeful that they will be able to resolve the grievances of these members through favorable policies.
It stated that some members of the community have shared reservations regarding the progress of the project specially in the wake of the construction of water reservoir at Ghurano and SECMC is cognizant of these concerns. The statement pointed out that the Company reiterates that all due concerns of the local population will be given importance and in this regard the Company has already commenced work as per the lucrative land compensation policy announced by the Government of Sindh to provide rightful land owners with compensation against the land owned at Ghurano, in addition to construction of schools, hospitals and provision of merit-based jobs.
Shamsuddin Shaikh, CEO SECMC, speaking on the incident said: `The progress on the SECMC project is in full swing and we are working towards alleviating the issues that some individuals in the local community have regarding the construction of the water reservoir. Many members from the same community appreciate the efforts of the Company and have even accepted the land award policy and received the due payments; however, some members have concerns which we are willing to address together with all concerned parties including public representatives.
Furthermore, we have also received instructions from the CM Sindh, who is a keen supporter of the project, to resolve the concerns of some of the community members in the best interests of the people. It is important to highlight that while this project is of national significance, it is equally significant for people of Thar who are already benefitting by provision of better socio-economic prospects owing to the project. We have already provided employment to locals which constitute more than 50% of our workforce at various levels; have improved access to water and better healthcare for their families and livestock and have plans to continue to invest more in the land and its people'.
The Ghurano water reservoir is being constructed on a total land area of approximately 1,500 acres, out of which 532 acres are private land owned by local populace. In this regard, a land award has been announced on October 27, 2016 and so far, SECMC has made payment of approximately PKR 33.5 million to the rightful owners for 110 acres of the private land. Furthermore, the water in the reservoir will be used for bio-saline agriculture which will potentially irrigate vast areas of Thar.
In this regard the Company is in talks with Chinese Agricultural Sciences institutes for assistance and technology transfer for the venture. In addition, the Company is cognizant of its social responsibility towards the Ghurano community and plans to install 5 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in the area to allow for easy access and provision of clean drinking water to the local communities. To date, one RO plant has been successfully constructed and is fully functional whilst 4 other RO plants are under construction with full support and help from the local community. APP/rak/msk/rn