NATIONAL Transmission and Despatch Company Limited (NTDC) has completed the construction work of 29 km long, double-circuit transmission line from Polan to Gwadar. As a result of this Pakistan’s transmission system in the region will be able to import an additional one hundred megawatts of electricity from Iran.
There is no denying that there is immense of cooperation between the two countries including in the energy sector and the import of this additional electricity is an important step forward towards that direction. We believe this will be beneficial for the people of Gwadar and Makran divisions in terms of power adequacy and reduction in load shedding and will increase the confidence of the key business players and investors to tap the opportunities provided by the Gwadar region.
Since a barter mechanism is in place between the two countries, the import of electricity will not prove to be a burden on our foreign exchange reserves. Keeping in view the requirements of Gwadar and other adjacent areas, we can import more cheap electricity from Iran. Whilst efforts were afoot to make the Gwadar Port fully operational, basic amenities such as the provision of electricity should have been ensured much earlier as this is the only way through which the investors can be attracted. Since the electricity demand of Gwadar region will rise with the increase in economic activities, we should also look for options to domestically catering to its requirements.
As regards relations with Iran, we understand these are on positive trajectory and in recent weeks, a series of MOUs and agreements were signed which if implemented in letter and spirit can help exploit the true potential of cooperation between the two countries. Opening the border markets will serve the purpose of enhancing the trade level and this will also help the local communities to earn their livelihood. Since, Pakistan is faced with serious gas shortage, we should move forward to implement the long delayed gas pipeline project with Iran which in fact will serve as a cheap and reliable source of energy.
Iran has already completed its part of the pipeline from the gas fields in the west to the border with Pakistan in the east. Completing the project on our part by March next year is also important to avoid the hefty penalty.