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The News

Published Date: Feb 17, 2014

All stakeholders clear MoU to import power from India?

Pakistan Commission on Indus Waters (PCIW) has cleared the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed with India for import of electricity
saying such an exchange between Pakistan and India has relevance under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.

“Yes, the PCIW has cleared the MoU draft sent by Ministry of Water and Power,” Commissioner
of Pakistan Commission of Indus Water Mirza Asif Beg confirmed to The News. According to the copy of the MoU, also cleared by all stakeholders
the governments of Pakistan and India will build an interconnection between Amritsar and Lahore.

Experts said that the clearance by the PCIW has given a clean chit to Nawaz government to proceed and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with India for electricity trade. An official of the Ministry of Water and Power said the draft of memorandum of understanding has been prepared in consultations with the government of India.

According to a
top official, the Ministry of Water and Power has sent the said MoU draft vetted by Law Division, PCIW, EAD, Foreign Affairs to the Federal Cabinet for approval and once that is given, the MoU will be forwarded to Foreign Affairs for signing with India.

Under the MoU draft infrastructure in both sides required to start the electricity trade will be constructed and financed by the two respective governments. However, eminent water and energy experts Arshad H Abbasi associated with SDPI, when contacted, came down heavily on Pakistan Commission on Indus Water for clearing the MoU draft and giving no objection certificate on import of electricity from India, said that import of electricity from India will be tantamount to legitimising the hydro generation by India on Pakistan’s rivers.

The PGCIL
(Grid Corporation of India Limited) will construct the part of interconnection falling in Indian Territory and NTDC (National Transmission Dispatch Company) will do the job in Pakistan.

The
relevant high level official told The News that India would export 200MW of electricity to Pakistan instead of 500MW of electricity. India itself is facing a huge power deficit which is why it is will export only 200MW.

When asked if Islamabad has sought any guarantee from New Delhi for sustained and smooth supply of 200MW of electricity, the official said that both the governments would enter into an agreement to this effect.

The official said that the pre-feasibility done by Hagler Bailly Pakistan funded by World Bank has worked out the delivered cost of electricity to be imported from India at 10-11 US cents per unit.

However, the feasibility study would be done after the experts of both the government
would finalize the issues relating to the system compatibility issues and the points of transmitting the electricity from India and receiving the electricity in Pakistan.

According to the copy of the
MoU cleared by all stakeholders an interconnection will be built between Amritsar and Lahore and the interconnection would be on 400 kV DC or 500 kV DC depending on the joint determination of experts of NTDC and Grid Corporation of India Limited. The interconnection would run on 22 kV AC in the beginning phase but would convert to DC on commissioning
of back to back converter station.

Under MoU, nominated teams of engineers of NTDC and PGCIL will address the system compatibility issues and decide on voltage level and best nodes on both sides of interconnection.

The MoU, however, does not cover commercial aspect of import and export of power. Once Pakistan starts buying this electricity then Islamabad will lose its case on all future projects to be established on Pakistan’s rivers, an expert said. It would also enable India to regulate water flows of 20 million acre of
feet water that are destined to reach Pakistan.