Ministry incompetence delays energy project


Despite acute energy shortage, Pakistan has been unable to materialise the electricity import deal with the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan through Afghanistan due to red tape and laid-back attitude of the state machinery.
Official documents indicate that the Ministry of Water and Power (MWP) sent a ministerial level delegation to Kyrgyz Republic on September 19-20 to pave the way for implementing the proposed electricity import deal.
The four member delegation, led by MWP secretary, had to face serious embarrassment as its representatives did not have any official draft ready with them when their counterparts from Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Afghanistan were signing
the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
This Inter Governmental Council (IGC) meeting was inaugurated by the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic, and was attended by senior officials of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and representatives of other countries.
Documents point out that the official draft of the MoU was on the agenda of the meeting for consideration and signature. Ministers of Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Afghanistan signed the MoU at the IGC meeting at Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, but it was only initialed on behalf of Pakistan, subject to approval from the government. Documents show that the draft was received by the MWP very late and could not get approved by the cabinet before the IGC meeting. However, now if the government approves the proposed draft, it will be conveyed by the MWP to other countries
in writing.
The proposed project envisions importing 1,000-1,300 MW of surplus electricity from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan through Afghanistan under the CASA-1000 Power Transmission Project. Documents suggest that the proposed project was under consideration of the four governments since 2006. The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and other donor institutes would provide assistance for the project.
Documents reveal that two MOUs have already been signed for the Development of Central Asia South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM). In 2008, an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was entered into at Islamabad between the four governments, confirming earlier MOUs affirming commitment to develop CASA-1000 Power Transmission Project and concerned issues like securities and rights.
In addition, a consultant firm, SNC-Lavalin international Inc of Canada had been hired to conduct techno-economic feasibility of the project. It submitted its report in February 2011 with positive conclusions.
Documents further state that during the visit of the Prime Minister to Dushanbe, Tajikistan in November 2010, emphasis was laid on early implementation of CASA-1000 project. Similarly, the President of Pakistan, during his visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, declared Pakistan’s commitment to the project.
After the formalities, the project is expected to be completed within minimum 58 months or five years. The total length of transmission line is 7.50 km, with 117 kin line in Tajikistan, 552 km line in Afghanistan, and a 71 km line in Pakistan. The total estimated cost is $873 million with breakup of $182 for Tajikistan, $160 million for Kyrgyz Republic, $238 million for Afghanistan, $153 million for Pakistan and $140 million for other related expenses.