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ISLAMABAD: The contract of remaining work on CASA-1000 in Afghanistan is likely to be awarded on the basis of International Competitive Bidding (ICB) or Joint Venture (JC) or subcontracting by Indian contractors, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The project, which started in 2015, still faces key challenges, which may impact its operationalisation and for which the World Bank Mission during June-July, 2022 was required to remove bottlenecks.

CASA-1000 project is being implemented simultaneously in four countries (i.e., Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan) with the total cost of $1.126.50 billion. (Revised estimated cost of Pakistan side is $ 232 million).

The objective of the project is to create the conditions for sustainable electricity trade between the Central Asian countries of Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic and the South Asian counties of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The general agreement and the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) economic entities of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan were signed in Istanbul on April 24, 2015. Besides, a grant agreement of $45 million and Project Agreement was signed between Tajikistan and the International Development Association (IDA) and World Bank and NTDC, respectively.

According to sources, the WB Mission was informed by National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) of the need for additional funding of $35 million to complete the CASA-1000 project in Pakistan. This additional financing is to meet extra payment for additional activities to make the CASA-1000 project operational.

World Bank extends CASA-1000 closing date

The sources said, it was agreed during the Mission that the current project closing date of March 2023 is no longer feasible, therefore, a new closing date, i.e., December 2025 is proposed to allow the Afghanistan project to catch up and be completed. NTDC has yet to approach and revise the PC-l.

The sources further noted that the CASA Secretariat on behalf of the four countries has successfully overseen the Account Bank Selection process and reached the stage of final endorsement of the chosen bank by the CASA countries. However, endorsement of the choice of Account Bank on part of the GoP is yet to be finalized.

The said, meeting with Tajik team is necessary to discuss and facilitate consensus on reverse flow option.

On Economic Affairs Division’s (EAD’s) request the WB agreed to explore opportunities to ensure early start of work in Afghanistan. However, work in Afghanistan has not yet started. Implementation progress of activities in Afghanistan is around 50%. Contract of two patches is with the Indian firms which are facing issues of delayed payments from Afghanistan. However, Tajikistan is vigorously pursuing timely completion of the project activities.

The sources said working on different alternate options is being explored to restart the work in Afghanistan, e.g., ICB, JV or sub-contracting by Indian contractors. Support of Government of Afghanistan is also equally important.

The sources said, convening of Inter-Governmental Council meeting is necessary to discuss and resolve the country level issues particularly restarting work in Afghanistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Rebirth Oct 31, 2022 07:59am
CASA is a misnomer since we’re not South Asians. Indians can’t build roads in Ladakh without the Turks and there are no well-known examples of Indian energy infrastructure construction projects. We must involve the FWO for the construction and the PSO for everything else. After winning the long fought Reko battle and the Karkey gift from Turkey, CASA and TAP (not TAPI) need to be completed immediately. Qatar can earn from Lebanon and Europe. We are always too short on dollars to satiate Qatari greed. The US wished to stop these projects even though Clinton started TAPI and based on the article, they made all parties sign the CASA agreement in 2015 when they had complete control of Afghanistan. Unless someone else got it done from right under their noses. They were also pushing for the IPI gas pipeline under the watchful eyes of Kerry. Seems like only the Turks can get Iranian gas without sanctions. And soon Russian gas too. Advantages of NATO membership that most of Europe can’t avail.
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