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New Pak govt may consider importing electricity from India

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 15:18

Islamabad: Pakistan's new government will seriously consider importing 1,000 MW of electricity from India as part of a short to medium-term strategy to end power outages, according to a media report today.

The import of electricity from India, Iran and Central Asian Republics was feasible, The News quoted its sources as saying.

It is a prerequisite for reviving shattered growth prospects, the sources said.

Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party, set to form government after its victory in the May 11 polls, is considering various options to overcome the crippling energy crisis.

An Islamabad-based unnamed official of the World Bank confirmed that a feasibility study had been done for exploring the import of electricity from India.

The official said 1,000 MW could be imported from India within the next two years.

According to World Bank officials, electricity trade between Pakistan and India will be completed in the next two years, including conducting feasibility studies, pricing and building a transmission line.

India and Pakistan are working on energy cooperation though there is no energy-sharing mechanism in this region, the report said.

The previous Pakistan People's Party-led government had decided in principle last year to import 500 MW of power from India.

In August, Indian and Pakistani experts agreed to conduct feasibility studies and identify points for the proposed import of electricity.

During a meeting in Islamabad, the experts had discussed proposals for electricity trade, including the building of a high voltage direct current link to transfer 500 MW from India.

The Indian also visited the location where the Pakistani and Indian electricity grids were to be connected but no further headway was made in the matter.

The PML-N will also present a roadmap for eliminating circular debt, The News reported.

According to one option, the new government will have to hike its budget deficit by a few percentage points to divert additional resources for controlling losses in the power sector, or divert major resources from the Public Sector Development Programme to the energy sector.

"The task force on energy has presented its recommendations, in which the upcoming minister and his team have been advised to end the circular debt at all costs,? said former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, a member of the task force.

The budget deficit might rise but the incoming government will have to take steps for strengthening the energy sector that has choked all economic activities, he said.

The energy crisis has damaged GDP growth over the past five years and average growth stood at 2.5 per cent of GDP on per annum basis.

The Planning Commission, which is preparing the salient features of next five-year plan, has estimated that GDP growth could touch the seven per cent mark in next five years because huge untapped potential exists in the economy.


First Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 15:18
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