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100MW Lakhra coal plant rusting

The only coal-based power plant in the country which can produce 50 MW at a cheap price of Rs5 per unit, is shut for the last two months because lazy bureaucrats are not pushed to provide the water that is essential for power generation.

And another part of the same plant which can produce 100 MW is rusting because of litigation and oil lobby pressure.When the whole country is exposed to unprecedented load shedding, the alarming development came to surface showing that 50 MW coal based Lakhra power plant is non-operational for the last 60 long days just because of the criminal indifference of top officials at the ministry.

The zero generation of cheaper electricity from Lakhra power plant has factually multiplied the miseries of the load shedding-stricken masses proving that the inefficient of Ministry of Water and Power needs a thorough makeover.

According to the officials of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco), the 50 MW coal based Lakhra power plant is not generating the electricity for the last 2 months. This is the only plant in Pakistan that generates electricity from coal of Lakhra at the cost of just Rs5 per unit. Lakhra power plant was getting the water from Indus River which is just 1.5 kilometers away but the plant is non operational just because of the non-availability of water.

This shortage is despite the fact that 50,000 cusecs of water passes per day in the nearby Indus river, where water flows changed direction and a quick pipeline or canal is needed to reconnect the river to the plant.

According to an official document, the top management of Lakhra power plant sensitised the mandarins of ministry of water and power in the month of February about the non-availability of the water required to make machinery operational.

The ministry remained unmoved and didn’t take the required steps, but continued to focus on generating the electricity by using the costly furnace oil and diesel just because of the massive corruption going on in procuring this fuel.

Now belated efforts have started to get water from Indus river by excavating an improvised small canal not by using high tech machinery but manually. Top officials in the ministry are not in a hurry to re-inject the cheaper 50 MW of electricity in the national grid.

However, the official sources in the ministry also said that the management of the Lahkra plant is responsible for the closure of the plant as some faults have developed in the plant owing to which the generation has been halted.

It may not be out of place to mention that Lakhra power came on to stream in 2005 with the capacity to generate 150 MW and since then the unscrupulous but influential oil lobby had swung into action and played pivotal role to foil it so that any move to generate coal based cheaper electricity could not take momentum across the country.

Under the plan carved out under the influence of the said oil lobby the part of the plant with capacity to generate 100 MW was given to another party on lease and an unending legal battle started. This is how the part of the Lakhra plant with capacity to generate 100 MW is lying idle and generating zero electricity.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, gave this the brand new zero meter power plant of 100 MW of Lahkra to an eminent oil tycoon who did not run the plant but preferred to go into litigation. Now that plant got rusted and has become non-operative too. There is no one to punish those who inflicted this huge loss on the country.

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