ISLAMABAD: The long discussed Indo-Pak electricity deal has moved closer to reality with energy- starved Pakistan handing over draft of an initial power trade deal to India.
The move comes as the World Bank has offered to finance the feasibility study and transmission line to import 1,200 megawatts (MW) of power from India.
“Now, the World Bank has also offered to finance a feasibility study along with the (installation of) transmission line to import 1,200 MW power from India,” an unnamed government official told the Express Tribune daily.
The official said a draft of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was handed over to Indian authorities in a recent meeting held in New Delhi.
India would respond to Pakistan after going through the draft of the initial deal, the official said.
Indian diplomats said Pakistan and India have constituted technical working groups which would review the aspects of the export of 500 MW of electricity to Pakistan.
The Pakistani cabinet had decided in January to import electricity from India. “The cabinet gave approval to the signing of an MoU between Pakistan and India for trade of electricity,” an official statement had said.
The Water and Power Ministry had initiated negotiations with India in this regard, it said, adding that the World Bank had undertaken to finance feasibility study of the project.
The issue of electricity trade had come up for discussion during the meeting between Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Chief Minister of Pakistani Punjab Shahbaz Sharif during his visit to India in December.
Chief Minister Sharif had visited Mahatma Gandhi Power project in Haryana after which he had said Pakistan would welcome India’s offer for supply of electricity to Pakistan at a reasonable rate.
India has expressed its intent to export electricity to the tune of 500 MW to Pakistan immediately if infrastructure for transmission of power is made available. Pakistan would import 500MW of power initially, to be enhanced to 1,200MW at a later stage. Meanwhile, the daily quoting the government official said, “The estimates of required finance will be known once a feasibility study is done.” It said preliminary discussions with India were underway and tariff matters still needed to be finalised.
“However, the MoU will be an initial commitment to India,” the official said, adding the government of Pakistan was also working on other power import projects like Casa-1,000MW and electricity purchase from Iran.
Pakistan is currently importing 35 MW of electricity from Iran to meet requirements of Gwadar, while work on increasing it by 100 MW is going on. The two sides signed an agreement on the project in 2007. —PTI