PUGUS, Tajikistan: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday termed Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) a flagship project in the region, and said upon completion would bring a number of economic, social and environmental benefits to member countries.
While addressing Quadrilateral meeting of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan held near Dushanbe to review the progress on the $1.2 billion CASA-1000 project, the prime minister said that the project would reduce the energy deficit, create jobs, improve trade and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, besides contributing to regional integration.
“It will be a good example of promoting cooperation between energy-deficient South Asia and energy-rich Central Asia,” Nawaz Sharif said at the Quadrilateral meeting of CASA-1000 which was also attended by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov.
The leaders gathered at the mountainous resort in Pugus Kulyabskaya Oblast, 36 kms from Dushanbe and along the gushing waters of the Varzob river, to discuss the ambitious project that would generate clean electricity through immense hydel resources.
They vowed to take all measures for early completion of CASA-1000 which would allow export of 1300MW of Central Asian electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan by 2018.
The leaders had launched the project in May 2016, terming it a “win-win and mutually rewarding” for all stakeholder states.
Although conceived long ago, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took the initiative to expedite the project leading to the historic agreement in Istanbul.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed the hope that the CASA-1000 Power Project would not only bring revenues to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but also mitigate electricity shortages in Pakistan and Afghanistan and increase prospects for growth.
The prime minister reiterated commitment of the Government of Pakistan to the early implementation of the project.
“We need energy for socio-economic development in Pakistan and to run our industrial sector to its full potential” he said.
Sharif hoped it would help in generating employment and uplift standard of living of the people of Pakistan. He said CASA-1000 would also be a source of revenue for Afghanistan and open up greater business and investment opportunities.
The prime minister said it was heartening to know that five companies, all leading manufacturers like ABB, Seimens, Alstonetc, have submitted bids for convertor stations to be setup at the end of the transmission line.
Nawaz Sharif said tenders had been floated for transmission lines from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and were being evaluated.
“I hope that work on these transmission lines would begin very soon,” the prime minister said.
In addition, he also extended gratitude to President Emomali Rahmon and his dedicated team for excellent arrangements for the briefing session and work accomplished since launching of CASA-1000 Power Project last year.
The CASA-1000 project is scheduled for completion by 2018 under the umbrella of the World Bank. Tajikistan share in the energy export will be 70 percent while Kyrgyzstan will export 30 percent of electricity. Afghanistan will consume 300MW of the exported energy while Pakistan will receive 1000MW electricity.
The project is expected to boost energy trade in the region and would lead to sustainable development.
Pakistan will get a share of 1,000MW of electricity while Afghanistan will get 300MW. The 750-km-long transmission line from Tajikistan would pass through Afghanistan.
Under the project, a total of 1,300MW will be produced by Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and would allow over 5 billion kilowatt-hours power for Pakistan and Afghanistan annually.
Tajikistan has surplus hydel electricity generation in summer with only five percent of it being used, while the rest can be used to benefit the neighbouring countries.
Tajikistan tops Central Asia for hydro energy resources. Its 948 rivers have a total length of 28,500 km. It has half of Central Asia’s ice-covered land with over 8,000 glaciers.
Tajikistan’s two main rivers provide Tajikistan with almost 60 percent of entire regions water resources and constitute almost 4 percent of world’s total hydropower potential meaning.
The transmission line originating from the Kyrgyz substation at Datka will run through Tajikistan’s substations of Sughda, Dushanbe, Regar and Sangtuda and then pass through Afghanistan to Pakistan with a converter station at Nowshera.