Online rally rejects coal power plants; demands renewable energy projects

  • Calendar Jul 15, 2020

KARACHI: Participants of an online rally have demanded an end to coal power plants and other fossil fuel-based plants and promotion of alternative renewable energy.

The first online rally on Zoom was organized by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Wednesday, which was attended by affected people of power plants and civil society of Pakistan and abroad.

The participants were also shown video clips of Peoples Caravan against Thar coal and in favour of climate justice.

The participants carried banners and chanted slogans against coal and in favour of renewable energy.

Muhammad Ali Shah, chairman PFF, said that coal power plants were established at coastal belt of Sindh, which were running on imported coal.

He said that coastal coal power plants were threat to marine ecology, which affected creeks and forests of mangroves. “There will be huge destruction through them,” he said.

Shah said that in Thar, coal reserves of 175 billion tons have been found and coal mining has been started, which was not in favour of both the humans and environment. Gorano reservoir has displaced several people, their pathways and grasslands.

Out of 13 blocks of Thar, work is continued over three blocks while affected people have not been compensated properly. This has also affected the environment. “Natural beauty of Thar is being
jeopardized,” he said.

In addition to coal mining, he said, water schemes were being developed to provide water to Thar coal plants that were also harming people and the environment.

Two dams at Nabisar and Vejhiar have already been constructed while two more dams are being developed in those areas, which would be connected to each other through a 62-kilometer pipeline.

Water for these schemes would be taken from Farsh Makhi canal, which is tail end of Nara Canal. “People of that area already don’t get water for their agriculture. This water withdrawal will further affect the area,” he said.

Shah said that they were not against the coal power plants only, they wanted promotion of alternative renewable energy. “Pakistan can generate 300,000 mw energy on wind and thousands of megawatts on solar energy,” he said. “Thus, we will have no need to jeopardize natural beauty of Thar,”

He said that they were unable to come on streets due to COVID-19, but would continue their protest through online platforms.

Karamat Ali of PILER also addressed the rally and focused on alternative methods of power generation rather than coal and fossil fuel-based power plants.

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    Scores of people march against environmental impacts of coal power plants

    • Calendar Mar 16, 2019

    On 16 March 2019, PFF organized a grand rally in the connection to protect the environment. The aim of the rally was to protect the water bodies from the dumping the power plants waste and construction the coal power plants near by the coastal belt.

    Hundreds of women, children from fishermen community of Karachi thronged into the streets, marched against the environmental impacts of coal power plants. Rally took place from Arts Council of Pakistan to Karachi Press Club. Carry placards and banners against negative impacts of coal on environment, ecology and communities, while women chanted slogans and demand government to immediately shut the coal based power plants in order to save environment.

    In front press club, chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah leading the rally started his speech with bold highlighted words “A full stop to all Public finance to coal related projects”.

    The affected community of coal expressed serious concern over degradation of environment and livelihood of local people and demanded the government to protect rights of local population. They underlined the need to adopt alternative energy sources like wind and solar instead of coal. Transportation, lifting and dumping of coal in the absence of any measures had badly affected the areas.

    PFF chairman briefed the rally participants about threats of coal power plants on environment and biodiversity.

    In the last, Mohammad Ali Shah demanded that there is a need to mobilize public finance to alter democratic renewable and cleans energy system for people and marginalized communities as soon as practicable and stop excessive energy consumption by corporation and LLC.

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      Tharis take part in protest sit-in against atrocities of coal power plant companies

      • Calendar Oct 31, 2020

      October 31, 2020: Thar coal companies have continued atrocities against local people that include violations of agreements, environmental pollution, dispossession of people, inclusion of outsiders, mismanagement in land compensation and ignoring local people in the employment.

      Protesting against such atrocities, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) along with other political and social organizations as well as local people held a historical rally and sit-in in Islamkot, which forced the district administration to come on the table and have dialogue with the protesters.

      People of Thar, affected from Thar coal block I, block II, Gorano Dam and Vejhiar Dam protested against the atrocities of the management of coal power plant companies. Protesters started a rally from Islamkot Press Club to Bypass where they held sit-in for four hours.

      PFF Chairman Muhammad Ali Shah, Awami Tehreek’s advocate Vasand Thari, Obhayo Junejo, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Muhammad Khan Loond, Bheemraj and Arab Mehranpoto led the protest.

      Hundreds of people from Khario Ghulam Shah, Tilwayo, Varwai, Ahsan Shah’s Tar, Thario Halepoto, Gorano and other villages participated in rally and sit-in. Traders of Islamkot, in solidarity with the protesters, closed their shops for few hours and participated in the protest.

      The protesters also burned tyres while several vehicles were jammed for around four hours. A large number of police also gathered at the sit-in place, where situation became tense.

      Assistant commissioner Nuhaid Ahmed reached in the protest and wanted the protest to be ended but the protester refused then ADC-1 Mithi Kabir Shah arrived but protesters wanted to talk to DC or CEO’s of the two coal companies. On his assurance to have a meeting with DC Tharparkar on Nov 3, the protesters were disbursed peacefully.

      Earlier, protesters said that the coal companies had continued atrocities with the local people, who were ignored in the employment. Outsiders were employed on projects. Besides, the local people were not paid the proper compensation of their land. There was also environmental pollution and land degradation caused by the coal mining.

      They said that in the name of development, Tharis were forced to face the destruction.

      Meeting with DC Tharparkar 

      In a meeting with the protesters on November 3, 2020, Deputy Commissioner Tharparkar sought 10 days period to fulfil several demands including providing minutes of the meeting, details of the funds of the foundation, list of employees hired by the companies and giving priority to the local people in employment. He assured to forward other issues to the Sindh government for the solution while its copy would be provided to the committee. In the meeting, DC said that Thar’s elected representative should also take efforts to resolve the issues.

      After meeting with the DC Tharparkar, a meeting was held with the representatives of all blocks that decided to constitute a six-member committee for the dialogue with the district administration. The committee includes Muhammad Ali Shah, Muhammad Khan Lund, Vasand Thari, Bheemraj, Obhayo Junejo and Bhooral Shah. The committee was empowered by the participants to conduct dialogue with the administration after taking the affected people in the confidence.

      This is just start of the campaign, which would be continued along with dialogue with the authorities while awareness would be created among the people in every affected village of Thar.

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