Power issues: Govt willing to ‘hook up’ with India

Published: November 2, 2011
“The proposed grid could contribute towards reducing the power shortage in both the countries in their long term usage provided the modalities are appropriately worked out between the two counties,” the prime minister said. PHOTO: AFP

“The proposed grid could contribute towards reducing the power shortage in both the countries in their long term usage provided the modalities are appropriately worked out between the two counties,” the prime minister said. PHOTO: AFP


In its desperate search for solutions to the chronic power crisis, the government is willing to ‘hook up’ with its traditional ‘adversary’. At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, the government decided to seek a connection between Pakistan and India’s power grids to allow the import of electricity from the country’s larger neighbour.

A statement released by the prime minister’s office, however, made no mention of how the government planned on solving the circular debt problem, which has financially crippled the entire energy sector. The meeting instead focused on new energy projects.

The statement quoted the prime minister as having told the participants of the meeting that he would raise the issue of connecting the two grids in his upcoming meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Maldives.

“The proposed grid could contribute towards reducing the power shortage in both the countries in their long term usage provided the modalities are appropriately worked out between the two counties,” the prime minister said.

Gilani and Singh are expected to hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit scheduled for later this month in Male, the capital of Maldives.

The meeting also decided expedite work on two mega hydropower and one thermal projects — Neelum-Jhelum, Kohala and Nandipur — to complete them within the stipulated time.

Gilani expressed deep concern over the long delay in the 969 MWs Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project, that had seen the cost overrun from Rs15 billion in 1989 to Rs333 billion now. The government is hoping to complete the run of the river project by 2016 but raising funds from both the domestic and overseas sources looks to be an uphill task. Gilani was also furious about the delays in beginning work on the Kohala hydroelectric power project, which would have a generation capacity of 1,100 MW.

The prime minister also directed that work on 1,450 MW Tarbella 4 expansion project should be started without any further delay to produce affordable electricity in the country.

(Read: Leaving it all for the next government)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • narayana murthy
    Nov 2, 2011 - 5:44AM

    Does this mean, India should construct more and more bridges in Kashmir and Punjab, so Pakistan can get power?


  • Pakistani
    Nov 2, 2011 - 5:53AM

    Where is our “Ghairat”……first we asked India for dengue medications, we seek medical treatment in India, we ask them for removal of trade barriers, we ask them for removal in visa restrictions……..and yet we use our strategic assets against them. If only we had real “Ghairat”, we would have worked on building our economy and self reliance, we wouldn’t have to beg the international community, especially India for “favours”. My head hangs in shame, as I read these news. With everday, we are getting deep into an abysmal pit, and yet spending money on building our nuclear arsenal against India. That money could have been used to build our economy up……but alas………..


  • Anonymous
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:09AM

    The indians themselves have 2-3 hours of power cut! Where will they provide us with power?Recommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:31AM

    “Propos­ed grid could reduce the power shorta­ge in both the countr­ies in their long term usage, says Gilani.”

    I didnt know the PM has this great sense of humor. Wah Wah.


  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:44AM

    A Newspapers Job is to Inform its Readers

    “The meeting also decided expedite work on two mega hydropower and one thermal projects — Neelum-Jhelum, Kohala and Nandipur — to complete them within the stipulated time.”

    Could the Tribune Express not make a small table to summarise the planned dates and the current outlook on completion dates?

    Why this conspiracy to hide the fact that the Neelum Jhelum project got its approval in 1989 and its current completion outlook ( low confidence) is 2016?
    A completion period of merely over a quarter century?

    What does that portend for the Daimer Bhasha Dam?

    The Hon’ble PM is furious…..but obviously he has been sleeping ( in air conditioned comfort) while his compatriots have been profusely perspiring.


  • Noor Nabi
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:47AM

    Pakistan and India should continue to strive in being supportive of each other’s needs and interests.


  • Cautious
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:54AM

    Wonderful — your going to get gas from the Iran who has a history of cutting off commerce after Pakistani Shia get massacred – and now your going to get electricity from your nemesis India. It demonstrates just how desperate you must be. And the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about – you don’t have the money to pay either India or Iran.


  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:54AM

    Everything about Pakistan is circular:

    Circular logic, circular debt and circular results.


  • Homa
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:11AM

    “hook up” with India and screw Kashmir.


  • Mirza
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:22AM

    Pakistan has to understand that dealing with the neighbors is always beneficial compared to the far off countries. Sorry, it took us only 65 long years to realize this fact! We do the right thing after we have tried everything else! If Western Europe can beg China to bail them out why cannot we ask Indians to help us out?
    As far as paying to India and Iran, don’t worry Imran Khan would bring magic lamp to take care of all the problems. Just like he and other rightwing parties were saying that all the problems would be solved after SC CJ is restored. How could one man eliminate poverty and corruption from the country? We have to get real for a change.


  • Babloo
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:22AM

    Why on earth would India want to entangle itself with Pakistan ?
    Has Indus water treaty not taught India a lesson ?
    Despite 3 wars and numerous state sponsored terrorist attacks on india, India has met its obligations under the treaty. But that has noit stopped Pakistan from making wild and pernicious allegations from time to time.
    The best course for India is to avoid any engagement.


  • Babloo
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:27AM

    Mr Gilani said ..
    “The proposed grid could contribute towards reducing the power shortage in both the countries in their long term usage provided the modalities are appropriately worked out between the two counties,” the prime minister said.

    An elephant and an ant where crossing a bridge and as the bridge shook, the ant said to the elephant, “the bridge is shaking because of our weight”.


  • John B
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:35AM

    It is a good thing in a broad perspective.

    However, if a power cut happens after the grids are connected, PAK should not blame India, as in Indus water treaty.

    The Canadian, US and Mexico grids are interconnected. PAK should boldly take steps to interconnect its railways and grids with India. After all, they were connected before.


  • Nov 2, 2011 - 7:38AM

    The PPP government is running around like a ‘headless chicken.’ It is running helter skelter and is completely devoid of solutions except corruption. ‘Circular Debt’ is its biggest nemesis. Salams to Pakistan


  • CK
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:46AM

    All talk.


  • Krishna
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:57AM

    Thats funny given the fact that India is going through severe power shortage and there are daily power break downs of up to 9 hours in Bangalore alone.


  • Pandit View
    Nov 2, 2011 - 8:45AM

    India should supply energy by pre-paid recharge mode.Recommend

  • Arindom
    Nov 2, 2011 - 9:03AM

    But wait – won’t this allow India to send RAW agents into homes and offices and factories disguised as ‘electric current’? At the very least this electricity must be declared ‘haraam’.


  • Proud Pakistani
    Nov 2, 2011 - 9:20AM

    How can Pakistan get electricity from a country already short of electricity. Boggle’s my mind.


  • vasan
    Nov 2, 2011 - 9:59AM

    India should not and cannot supply power to Pakistan when Indian cities and industries are going thru severe power cuts . How can u export power which is in short supply. If too much of power is produced at some point and India does not have a grid capacity to handle that, then how is the export possible. If it hydro power which is in oversupply, pl conserve the water and dont produce. If it is thermal power, coal or oil should be preserved instead of producing too much of power which cannot be handled by the grid.


    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:59AM

    This gesture is a gift by PM Manmohan Singh to Pakistan where he was born as it is a unviable proposition since India has no surplus electricity to share with others.


  • Shyam
    Nov 2, 2011 - 11:01AM

    Congratulations to the Pakistani Govt… Now they can blame India for power cuts too!!!


  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Nov 2, 2011 - 11:58AM

    Iran has offered electricity to Pakistan why are we delaying that offer and going for Indian electricity??? They can switch off whenever they want to pressurize Pakistan and that is a very regular feature!!!


  • Amren
    Nov 2, 2011 - 12:48PM

    My take … instead of the Iran – Pak – India gas pipeline, it seems Pak will hook the power lines on both sides and take brokerage. Surely in the current situation there is nothing that both Ind – Pak can give to each other in terms of electricity.


  • Meltt5
    Nov 2, 2011 - 2:07PM

    There is nothing wrong in importing electricity from India like any other commodity needed here. This can be a temporary measure till such time Pakistan is ready to meet its own requirement itself. In international politics it is always national interest which is supreme. There is no such thing as ‘Permament friends’ or ‘permament enemies’ in international politics. Pakistan is facing an acute problem of energy shortage which is seriously affecting every sector of our national activity. I believe Pakistan government has taken correct decision and it must be implemented..Recommend

  • Nov 2, 2011 - 2:35PM


    “there are daily power break downs of up to 9 hours in Bangalore alone.”

    Well, I have exposed you of not being from India before, will do yet again.

    I am from Bangalore, and let state this as strongly as possible that there are no power cuts due to lack of shortage of power any more, or what you call load shedding.

    But, I do understand why you brought up Bangalore. It is the symbol of India’s rise and technology and you want to belittle that as much as possible. But, what a pathetic attempt.Recommend

  • Nov 2, 2011 - 2:38PM


    Vasan, it doesn’t work that way. Lets say there is shortage of power in Kerala but there is plenty of it in Gujarat. Electricity will suffer a lot of loss transporting it in such large distances. So, its better if we sell it to Pakistan. Well, that is the reason I heard from a guy who knew a thing or 2 about these stuff.Recommend

  • Nov 2, 2011 - 2:39PM

    India should sell Electricity to Pakistan only AFTER getting the said amount in full each month. Pakistan barely has foreign reserves to last a few weeks, its better to be safe than sorry.Recommend

  • Hamid
    Nov 2, 2011 - 2:43PM

    Import electricity from India? Man, India is going through severe power shortage already,how can they export us electricity?


  • Manish
    Nov 2, 2011 - 3:17PM

    The pak govt is not asking for electricty free from India. It will be sold to Pak. Thus it is an import of electricity rather than begging. Grow Up and get life. You need to import something which you have in scarce. The same thing happened in India for onions when onions in India was scarce and it has to import onions from Pak. It does not mean begging. Try love your country and keep politics hatred and trade apart.


  • vasan
    Nov 2, 2011 - 4:08PM

    Bruteforce :
    It does work the way I posted. If Gujarat, for eg, produces plenty of electricity, then depending upon the sources, it can reduce the production from thermal plants and conserve coal. Or alternatively send the coal/furnace oil to the power deprived state which has enough power plants. The line losses ie losses from transporting the electricity are part of the game. Even if if assume that states bordering Pak are power surplus states, not all the states of India bordering these power surplus states are power self-sufficient. So instead of exporting (ie tying up with Pak grid,), they can send it the east via Indian grid itself.


  • IndianMuslim
    Nov 2, 2011 - 4:40PM

    Final report on India-Sri Lanka grid connection by Dec.


    If India and Sri Lanka can, why not Indo-Pak?


  • G. Din
    Nov 2, 2011 - 5:25PM

    “…Well, that is the reason I heard from a guy who knew a thing or 2 about these stuff.”
    Whoever told you that was correct -only marginally or strictly theoretically. Grids operate at EHV – extra high voltage- precisely to limit losses to the minimum. So, losses are not very pertinent to the issue. In addition to losses, there is the issue of voltage drop over long distances. This, too, doesn’t present a huge problem because enough number of transformer substations would have been foreseen along the run during planning to compensate for such loss. Couple that now with the political implications involved in supplying energy (it is not power) to Pakistan at the cost of denying to our own suffering Kerala and no one is going to take such a foolish decision, not even such a Pakistan-lover as Mohana himself! Although I would dearly wish to see transfer of energy between us and our neighours (that means both ways, as for instance between Nepal and India), it is not doable today – not for quite a long time!Recommend

  • ukmuslim
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:08PM

    @vasan lets have an example
    area a – power generating stations(PGS) 4, generation capacity(GC) 4000MW, consumption(C) 2000MW, credit history(CH) – A
    area b – PGS 1, GC 1000MW, C 3000MW, CH – C-

    1) sometimes it is not feasible to spend lot of money and effort moving resources(oil/coal) from area A to area B.
    2) what if area b has less generation capacity (or less efficiency), it won’t make any difference even if you move the resources.
    3) it is possible, generation company in area b has less purchasing power (less money) for resources


  • Nov 2, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Couldnt they find any other country than india?


  • Syed
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:43PM

    Did Pakistan’s govt. has done all the feasbility study on generating electricity at home and is it more expensive than borrowing it from India? What does this mean economically to Pakistan Vs India and what type of contract will be signed with India should be made public beforehand rather than imposing such decisions.

    I am not against the option of borrowing the electricity from India but Pakistan’s govt. needs to come clean and publically provide comperhensive ‘authentic source reporting results’ on generating electricity at home is more expensive and not realistic.

    As far as I know, Pakistan has immense resources to generate the electricity that it not only can end the fake energy crisis but export it to neighbouring countries.


  • rambag
    Nov 2, 2011 - 8:26PM

    Acttually @bruteforce is right. Transmission losses would make large distance transmissions unviable. So better to sell some electricity to pak where it is closer,then buy/generate more closer to where its not there.


  • Nov 2, 2011 - 9:20PM


    Whatever it is I hope it is economical and well-thought out. I am good with Computers, not with the electricity that runs through them. Sad, I know!


  • Ahmadi
    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:19PM

    We should Import electricity from China. We love China. China will give us power for free. Why pay these guys from India and Iran when China is our latest Abba Jaan


  • Ali
    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:52PM

    Didn’t Pak at one point also send electricity to India?


  • Realist.
    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:53PM

    That would take TIME.
    at least a year or more.
    by that time they can increase working capacity of the power plants provide enough fuel to IPPs if they are fully functional we dont need to buy it from india. Recommend

  • sundar
    Nov 3, 2011 - 1:12AM

    With neighbors it is a good idea to do business or to give what you have in excess.It may be a good idea to offer electricity to Pakistan. But what happens if Pakistani army/ISI is instrumental and caught red handed in a terrorist attack like they were in Mumbai?


  • Arindom
    Nov 3, 2011 - 8:45AM


    are you living in a disused sewer pipe in Dharavi (slum of Mumbai). Even these slums donot have 9 hour power cuts today – they have 24 hour power and many have power back-ups!!

    Or, are you a time traveller – you mean about India from 1950?

    Or, are you really in India?


  • Pundit
    Nov 3, 2011 - 9:51AM

    @Mariam: Exactly my thoght: Kafir Electricity!


  • zalim singh
    Nov 3, 2011 - 2:22PM

    hook up has a different meaning altogether…


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