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World Bank funding infrastructure for power import from India

The World Bank has identified the funds for a comprehensive study to import electricity from India revealed official correspondence between the World Bank and the government of Pakistan. A document available with The News confirmed. The Bank, disclosed the document, on June 7 that completed the process of seeking Expression of Interests (EoIs) from various companies for initiating the study. The World Bank would, however, declare by the end of June, the firm to be hired for the comprehensive study. The World Bank also mentioned that it would arrange workshops, both in Lahore and Islamabad, for private sector energy experts from Pakistan, India and US and other parts of the globe, in this document. The World Bank [WB] had already agreed to fund the infrastructure to be laid down for the import and export of electricity between India and Pakistan, and that it would extend about $300-400 million to install the transmission lines within six months between both the nuclear rivals once an agreement is reached. “The loan amount would be equal to the cost of the whole project, which still needs to be worked out. The bank would extend soft loans to both Pakistan and India to complete the project,” said the official. “We have identified the two places, Dina Nath near Bhai Phero, and Ghaziabad from where the transmission system would be started and go deep into the Indian Punjab at Bathinda, from where the electricity would be imported.” Pakistan, scrapping earlier plans to import electricity from the Indian private sector, had decided to now import power from India on a government-to-government basis. Saner elements prevailed over the earlier move by the Ministry of Water and Power. However, top ministry officials including Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar and Secretary Imtiaz Kazi still favour the import of electricity from India’s private brokers. “Under the proposed summary, which is not yet finalised, private brokers in India are to arrange the sale of electricity to Pakistan,” disclosed an official. In response to a question, the official stated that in the first phase, Pakistan would import 500MW of electricity at a cost of not more than Rs7-8 per unit, with the tariff at which Pakistan is importing electricity from Iran as a benchmark. For the import or export of electricity, both sides need to develop 500 or 220kv transmission lines, stretching almost 70 kilometers. Pakistan and India will each construct 45 kilometers 220kv transmission lines on their respective sides within six months after a formal agreement. The agreement will be for five years, which will be negotiable for an extension for another five years or more, sources confirmed. However, the deal will not be unilateral, rather it will be bilateral. “We have asked [the] Indian side, in case Pakistan manages to generate more energy, that it would export the surplus electricity to India which is why the infrastructure will be laid down in such a way to cater to the needs of the import and export of electricity,” the official said.

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