Articles of the year 2012

Coal Power
Published on March 02nd, 2012

We Pakistanis are so gullible that even our scientific elite are entrapped by the quacks of today. A case in point is the water driven car. This magic trick has been already shown on many circus shows, and never made it beyond the magician's spot. Yet in Pakistan we watch the anchors on Pakistan televisions discussing the merits and demerits of the WTC (water driven car).

Our gullible public who have already been deprived of their hard earned money courtesy the many Ponzi scams, and yet the public lines up for more of the same, including our Samad Dadabhoy, Double Shahs, and the like.

The largest scam under serious consideration is the Underground Coal gasification plant. While in theory it is a very elegant plan, the reality is far more difficult. Which explains why it has not been put into production anywhere in the world.

The whole world is still digging the coal out of the ground transporting it by sea and rail to the point of use. The gasification plants are set up where convenient, but far away from the mining operation.

In Pakistan the government is being pushed into investing by the group led by Dr Samar Mubarakmand, to release the huge funds (hundreds of millions of dollars) that would be required to research and then design a plant for UGG. While the good Doctor is trying to convince the hard rock's of Islamabad, it should be pointed out that there is no underground gasification machinery available anywhere, off the shelf or otherwise.

The Government of Pakistan should beware of such offers promising highly sophisticated concepts which are as yet unproven in the commercial arena. As explained earlier there is a desperate need for us to excavate and market the huge coal deposits in Thar. The transport systems will also have to be upgraded to handle the increased loads efficiently. The marketing will not be a problem, for there is a huge demand for coal in Pakistan as fuel. Our oil import bill is currently running at 15 billion dollars annually, and we are still arguing about the Thar coal. The real reason it would seem is the middleman in Pakistan who in insisting on his pound of flesh is destroying the project itself. A prime reason for genuine investors giving Pakistan a wide berth.

The Government of Pakistan must now get its act together, and playing politics at the expense of the Nation. They must appoint a senior member of the private sector to spearhead this important project. Otherwise we will have lost an immense opportunity to bring jobs and fuel to Pakistan.It also illustrates clearly, that the politician of today is more concerned about his own health, and much less for that of his voters, the ones who voted him into power in the first place.

However Thar coal is much larger than a magic trick, and we should get very serious about this project, as it can turn our country around. Our nuclear dream shall always remain a dream, as its use on the subcontinent will have disastrous and long lasting effects at its point of use. Five hundred years of radioactivity minimum. Yet the praise bring lavished on our Nuke is far greater than the benefits being reaped by Pakistan. In fact our expenditure on defence has risen dramatically after our becoming nuclear.

In fact any delay in the Thar project is anti-Pakistan, for which the punishment is well known.