CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government’s plan to sell surplus power to Pakistan may not in actuality see the light of the day with the Central government objecting to the proposal due to ongoing tensions between the neighbours.
The State government was hoping to sell 500 MW of power to Pakistan, and the Union Power Ministry’s power grid at Amritsar was to be the designated station from where the supply would have been generated for the purpose. Sources, however, said that plenty of work is needed to be done on both sides before an arrangement to sell power at commercial rates to Pakistan is arrived at. To make the project a success, Pakistan too would have to build massive infrastructure, including a dedicated grid and high-voltage transmission lines. Moreover, the government would have to spend heavily to transmit electricity from the Patti grid near Amritsar to the Wagah border.
However, all that may remain a distant dream as senior officials have confirmed that the Punjab government was unlikely to obtain permission from the Union government any time soon.
Though the State government has strongly pitched the idea of selling electricity to Pakistan in an attempt to strengthen trade and economic links with the neighbour, the prospects look pretty grim. Asked about future plans, Chairman and Managing Director of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited K D Chaudhary admitted that a green light was being awaited from Delhi.
“The Union government has to take the final decision. There are many issues involved in implementing the process. Pakistani transmission lines and grid issues are yet to be resolved. We have sent the proposal to the Union Power Ministry, but nothing has happened so far,” Chaudhary said.
If the Union ministry’s objection is one part of the story, there is another side to it as well. Though the Punjab government claims to have surplus power, they had to start private thermal plants to improve supplies. But, matters haven’t improved much.