Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co (SECMC) has claimed its pilot project is growing crops by using saline waste water being dumped into the controversial Gorano reservoir and has been found fit to grow vegetables and pulses. SECMC officials told the press that pilot project executed by Thar Foundation (TF), a subsidiary of SECMC, seedlings of cluster beans, melon, lentil and other local crops were initially grown on a two acre plot in Thar Coal Block-II. Crops were being watered by underground saline water pumped 180 meters from open-pit coal mine, which had up to 5,000ppm TDS level, they claimed. Chando Bheel, one of the two farmers, TF had deputed to take care of the plot, said they had planted seeds of almost all local varieties of vegetables, fruits and pulses on the plot a month ago and were delighted to see that most of the saplings had survived and seedlings of cluster beans, melon and lentil were growing normally. Shamsuddin Shaikh, CEO TF and SECMC, said the water being supplied to the plot was the same as water stored in Gorano reservoir. He said, his company had inked an agreement with a Karachi University Institute, to grow green fodder on the plot on experimental basis. ISHU’s Prof Dr Bilqees Gul said that at the first stage, seedlings that had grown on the plot would be planted at a nursery in ISHU and would later be transplanted to Thar.‘We have made significant progress in research. If implemented, it could contribute significantly to rehabilitating saline land in arid areas like Thar,’ she said.