Thar Coal Project lift me out of poverty: a truck driver interviewed


In August, the temperature in Thar reached 50 degrees Celsius. The Thar II project, contracted by China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) , is under intense construction. In spite of the heat, Mutlib and his colleagues are working energetically.

The Thar desert region is one of the poorest areas in Pakistan with little resources and extreme harsh natural environment, and the local people generally rely on herding to make a living.

In 2016, CRCC undertook the construction of Thar project, which employed the surrounding villagers to become the main force. Since then, they have constantly trained them as technical personnel to solve the local employment problem. “Since working on the project, we’ve learned skills, got rid of poverty and became rich. Before I participated in Thar project and became a truck driver, I had never even seen a car, let alone drive a truck safely,” Mutlib, who used to be a sheep herder, told reporters, “When I applied for the job, the villagers around me thought it was too risky. Nobody believed that a shepherd boy who had never seen a car could drive such a huge mining truck.”

“On my first day at work, I walked to the truck without a helmet and the Chinese master Xu Hongyan stopped me and told me sternly that I had to wear a helmet and life was more important than anything else,” recalls Mutlib.

When Mutlib received his first income, he bought gifts for his family, new clothes for his children and supplies for the family. “In our village, herdsmen lived in thatched huts, which I once also lived in. Now, I live in two brick houses with a motorcycle in the yard and a TV in the house. Compared with the thatched hut life, life for me and my family has improved a lot and we are very satisfied. This should be attributed to great effort by China and CPEC to develop the local economy and alleviate poverty. The happiness of local people is worth more than any medal, ” he said.

Mutlib’s little dreams are coming true. Next, he wants to achieve a bigger dream. Mutlib said: “I want to visit China, the brotherly country, and I dream of maybe working in China in the future. This project which I participate in, is of great significance. Thar II Coal Mine project, as a priority project of BRI — ‘CPEC Energy Plan’, has opened a new situation of solving power shortage, which is of great significance to help Pakistan to overcome energy crisis, improve power structure and drive local economic development.”

Zhang XiaoJun, Manager of Thar II project, CRCC, told Gwadar Pro: “The project, with a total investment of more than $2 billion, has an annual capacity of 3.8 million tons and will gradually expand to 21.5 million tons. For Pakistani employees who have never worked with mine construction vehicles, like Mutlib, we provide safety training for at least one month. Since the project was launched in April 2016, a large number of ordinary Pakistani people have joined us, and their lives have been greatly improved. During the five years of construction, we have trained more than 1,300 local employees, and many surrounding villagers like Mutlib have become the main force.”

Source: China Economic Net