ISLAMABAD: The authorities in Pakistan are hopeful of resumption of suspended work on transmission line of Central- Asia, South-Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade (CASA-1000) project in Afghanistan from July 2024 to be completed within three years’ time as the World Bank is ready to extend funds of $ 300 million available outside the control of Taliban Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

The purpose of this project is to trade surplus hydropower from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Groundbreaking for the project took place in May 2016 by leaders of the four countries.

According to sources, work in the three countries, ie, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is near completion. Supply period for electricity to Pakistan is from May to September each year.

Operationalisation: World Bank to extend additional financing for CASA-1000

Lines have bi-directional transmission capability to utilize the transmission system in winter for export of electricity from Pakistan to CARS (subject to commercial agreement). It will contribute to renewable energy capacity in the generation mix and reduce basket price of the country.

The sources further stated that energy payment is on unit delivered basis and tariff is inclusive of generation and transmission. The project has 10 contracts including 5 Indian companies, awarded through international competitive bidding and payments made through direct disbursement by the funding agencies after verification by the consultant and companies.

During a meeting held in Dubai on 4-5 December 2023, Ministers of three countries urged Word Bank should re-engage in Afghanistan, otherwise the assets created in other countries will remain stranded.

The international financial institutions involved in the project have continued their funding and a substantial debt repayment already made.

However, it will not generate the expected benefits until power transmission is activated. This depends upon the World Bank for resumption of activities and release of funding for Afghanistan portion of the work.

Sources revealed that during Joint Working Group meeting held in Istanbul on 7-8 March 2024, the World Bank confirmed that its Executive Board on 15 February 2024 has endorsed a new approach under which funds of $ 300 million could be made available outside the control of Taliban. Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) confirmed endorsement of the condition.

The sources said, DABS is in coordination with the contractors to provide timeline for resumption and completion of works and has issued Force Majeure withdrawal letters to its contractors and consultants, adding that date for completion of construction work will be proposed by the contractors upon completion of assessment of the situation.

The EPC contractors KPTL and KEC have indicated they would restart the activities as soon as payment of arrears and confirmation of forward funding is agreed. Out of outstanding arrears of $ 50 million, $ 44 million has been paid to the contractors; 100 % material is already stored in Afghanistan and is in good condition.

The work in Afghanistan is likely to resume in July 2024 and completion of transmission line is not expected prior to 2026.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Imran Khan Jun 25, 2024 12:27pm
Kya qoum hai yar. We have surplus electricity and still willing to buy from central Asia. Doob maro policy makers doob maro
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