A top Chinese firm has halted work on 660kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line from Lahore to Matiari worth $2 billion due to a vast array of reasons, which includes differences between the company and the Pakistan government over issues involving funding of the project. According to reports furnished by Dawn, the Pak government has also showed its reluctance to involve in another similar project (between Port Qasim and Faisalabad) with the company till the first line is completed properly.
It is to be noted that the 878 km Lahore to Matiari HVDC line is a part of the China Pakistan Electronic Corridor (CPEC) is Pakistan’s inaugural project based on direct current. When completed, the electric line will have the capacity of transmitting nearly 4,000MW of electricity.
As per reports, the sites where the installation work has been slowed down or completely thwarted are Balloki, Bhaipheru (about 50 km from Lahore), and near Matiari (near Hyderabad).
Each site, which the government handed over to the Chinese company earlier this year, comprises of 175 hectares each. Each site is required to house two converter stations for converting alternating current (AC) to DC and DC to AC.
Reports further suggest that the slowdown and halting of work at various places are mainly due to two reasons – firstly, due to the funding of the project, and secondly, the operation and maintenance of the project.
Apparently, there is also another issue, one which concerns about setting up of four coal-fired power plants in the Thar. Although these were earlier scheduled to be commissioned only in May 2020, as per newest dealings, they shall be operational by November 2020.
As a result of all these, there might seemingly be further delays in funding, which is why the official start of the project – that needs to be completed within a span 27 months – is yet to be announced by the Pak government.