The environmental watchdog of Balochistan has made conditional issuance of its NOC for an upcoming 300 MW coal-based power plant in Gwadar on fulfilment of the condition that the electricity from the new plant would be supplied free of charge to household consumers of the area. Balochistan Government’s Environment Secretary Gulam Muhammad Sabir disclosed this the other day while speaking at a public hearing held here at a hotel on Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted on the upcoming new 300 MW imported coal-based power plant in Gwadar.
The public hearing among others was attended by Director-General of Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (BEPA) Captain (retd) Muhammad Tariq, representatives of CIHC Pak Power Company Ltd being proponents of the project, concerned experts of developmental and environmental affairs, NGOs, chairman of municipal committee of Gwadar district, and a large number of the concerned citizens of the area.
Those who spoke on the occasion informed the BEPA and proponents of the project about their viewpoints on the subject so to make sure that the construction of the upcoming power plant would lead to sustainable socio-economic devrlopment of the under-developed coastal area.
Audience of the public hearing were informed that a long-term plan had been finalized under which steps would be taken on a permanent basis to decrease to the maximum possible extent harmful effects on environment after the upcoming coal-based power plant become operational in Gwadar area. In this regard, every physical and operational aspect of the upcoming plant is being properly taken into account and taken care of in order to mitigate their negative fallout if any.
A detailed review of the EIA report of the proposed power plant was presented on the occasion by consultant of the project Environmental Management Consultants (EMC) Pakistan. The chief of EMC Pakistan Syed Nadeem Arif informed audience of the hearing that 300 MW coal-based power plant was being built as its financing had been arranged under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project. The project is meant as part of the overall plan to develop infrastructure in the coastal areas of Gwadar and Makran and also to provide electricity there.
Senior Environmentalist Saquib Ejaz Hussain while shedding light on both positive and negative aspects of the project, said that coal-based power plant had been designed on efficient technology. State of the art gadgets will be installed in the upcoming power plant to control air and water pollution due to the project after it becomes operational.
Systems of FGD, ESP, and SCR will be installed in the power plant, which would lessen the harmful emissions of particulate matter, NOx, and SOx into air due to functioning of the plant in near future. The harmful emissions from the upcoming power plant will not exceed the criteria set by the World Bank and National Environmental Quality Standards of Pakistan for the purpose.
The new power plant will produce large quantities of flyash so ash management plan is an important feature of the power plant design whereby ash yard is being developed over 60 ha area on international standards. It is also being planned to install brick manufacturing facility to commercially use this ash instead of dumping in the area merely as a waste.
The sea water will fulfill cooling water supply needs of the project as for the purpose an 800 meters-long pipeline would be laid on the sea bed. The warm waste water of the power plant, will again be discharged into sea as for the purpose, a 600 metres pipeline would be laid. Special gadgets will be installed after every 100 metres all along this pipeline so to maintain temperature of sea water so that it could not become harmful for marine life of the area. The water discharge temperature shall strictky comply NEQS standards to avoid any impact on the existing desalination plant.
Audience of the hearing were informed that special funds had been reserved as part of the CSR (corporate social responsibility) aspect of the project so that the same could be used for socio-economic uplift and advancement of the area and its people. The project will make it sure to provide free medical and educational services to people of nearby villages.
A special centre will also be established to impart training to area people so that they could fill job vacancies of the project related to requirements of skilled labourers. Other speakers of the hearing emphasized that upcoming power project should take steps for development of the area whereas it should also cooperate with the relevant agencies of the state.
The CEO of CICH Pak Power Company Mr. Xu on the occasion assured the audience that the project in question would be built well in accordance with the international, national, and provincial environmental standards and regulations. Whereas the project will also go a long way in development of Gwadar area. Other speakers of the hearing included Ghulam Rasool Jamali, Shamsul Haq Memon, Dr Shahid Amjad, Dr Syed Ali Ghalib, Dr Lekhraj Kella, Dr Zahoor Bazai, Agha Hasan Raza, Mohammad Yahya Moosa Khel, Ghulam Qadir Shah, Abdul Raheem, Babu Ghulab, and others.